Mister Heiko Maas, bring Malena back from Hongkong to Germany!

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5-year old Malena was born in Upper Bavaria (Chiemgau), where she lived with her mother Tanja. Malena also attended kindergarten in Upper Bavaria. On Monday, 11th of November 2019 she had to leave Germany for Hongkong according to a court decision.

Tanja is desperate and full of fear that she will lose Malena to Hongkong and might never see her again.

Tanja has engaged a lawyer to help her get her daughter back to Germany. This means she has to bear the entire costs for her legal assistance which have already reached astronomical heights.

Please support Tanja in her fight for her daughter! Sign this petition. 


Tanja is a flight attendant, working part time at Lufthansa. She can only work on flights departing from Upper Bavaria. Tanja neither has a residence permit nor a work permit for Hongkong. According to the decision of the Oberlandesgericht München (Higher Regional Court Munich), it is feasible for Tanja to travel to Munich and continue working for Lufthansa. If Tanja is not able to do this, she has to leave her daughter in Hongkong and move back to Munich!

Malena’s father comes from a very healthy Hongkong-Chinese family. He has already applied for sole custody of Malena in Hongkong. However, it is unlikely that he is going to look after Malena himself. In Hongkong, it is absolutely unusual for a father to educate his children. Children in Hongkong are usually taken care off by foreign nannies. Therefore, it is assumed that the aim of Malena’s father was just to win the legal case, as in Hongkong, a divorce is harmful to a man’s reputation.

So far, Malena has been a keen and happy girl. She cannot understand why she had to leave her home town in Upper Bavaria. She does not understand why she had to move to her father’s country. She barely knows her father, she does not understand his language and she does not want to live with him. During the last months, Malena’s mother tried to protect Malena against any kind of sorrows or fears. However, Malena does no longer behave as she did before. She has changed in many ways: She suffers from the fear of losing her mother, she wakes up at night dreaming her mother was taken away from her and she cries a lot.

Malena’s mother Tanja is a tough woman, but she is becoming desperate as she fears losing her daughter. She is extremely worried with regard to Malena’s health. Malena suffers from asthma. The climate in Hongkong is harmful to Malena’s health. The political situation in Hongkong is not stable at all, there is a constant danger of escalating violence and Hongkong’s future is unclear. According to regulation in Hongkong, 5-year old Malena is a school-age child and has to attend school as of now. However, from a psychological point of view, it is clear that Malena does not have the mental strength to start school right now. The last months have affected her mental health. Several medical examinations concerning Malena’s asthma and her mental health exist, however all of them have been ignored by the Oberlandesgericht München.

The fact base which led to the judgment of the Oberlandesgericht München is neither plausible nor transparent. Malena’s father left Tanja in the beginning of 2018 (at that time he stayed in Upper Bavaria with Tanja and Malena), sending her a written message. In his message he also let Tanja know that he didn’t want Malena and that she could live with Tanja. Then he went back to Hongkong, packed all personal belongings of his wife and his daughter and sent them to Germany. Three months later, he changed his opinion.

He accused Tanja of child abduction according to the Hague Convention. The Landgericht Traunstein (Regional Court) dismissed the action saying that Tanja did not abduct Malena. Malena’s father appealed against this judgement. During the first official hearing things looked like as if the Oberlandesgericht München agreed with the decision of the Landgericht Traunstein. But then something entirely unexpected for Tanja happened.

In the course of the second court session, it was announced that Malena’s habitual residence was Hongkong and that she had to be brought back to her habitual environment. The Oberlandesgericht München did not consider any dates and figures that showed that Malena has spent most of her life in Germany. Procedural claims regarding this have been ignored so far!

Malena has never had a residence in Hongkong. Using a tourist visa, she went to Hongkong with her mother several times to see her father.

Malena had to leave Germany on 11th of November 2019. Before that date she had spent 1,302 days (that means almost 70 percent!) of her life in Germany and only 625 days in Hongkong. So how can the Oberlandesgericht München announce that Malena’s habitual residence is Hongkong?

Since January 2018, Malena has been living in Germany without interruption. This means for almost two years she hasn’t been to Hongkong at all. It is very rare that a human being can remember things that happened before his/her third or fourth birthday. Therefore, it is very likely that Malena has no memory of the time she spent in Hongkong.


***Malena is suffering from an extreme form of asthma, which often causes big concern to her mother and her doctors. On its website, the German Federal Foreign Office warns that air pollution in Hongkong can cause medical problems to people suffering from certain medical conditions. So why does a child like Malena, who is suffering from asthma, have to live in a polluted city like Hongkong, where her medical condition is bound to get worse?

***Malena is deeply enrooted in the little town where she has grown up so far. Why does she have to leave her friends, her kindergarten teachers, her beloved cousin, her flat with her own room? And why is she going to be separated from her mother – the most important person in Malena’s life to whom she has a strong attachment?

***Both, Malena and Tanja, were questioned by the judge in a separate session without assistance of a legal expert. Why didn’t this have any consequences so far?

***Malena’s mental health is instable. According to regulation in Hongkong, 5-year old Malena is a school-age child and has to attend school as of now. How shall she manage this important transition in her life without the support of the most important person in her life, her mother?

***Tanja’s lawyer sent an urgent motion to the Bundesverfassungsgericht (Federal Constitutional Court of German), which could have stopped the enforcement of the judgment. Why did the Federal Constitutional Court reject this urgent motion on 7th of November 2019 without stating any reasons?

Tanja is already financially ruined. So far, she has spent far more than 100,000 EUR for legal assistance. In Hongkong, hourly rates of lawyers exceed 500 EUR. For Tanja, this means, she cannot afford a lawyer there. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO DONATE MONEY.


Malena’s interests and her personal well-being are ignored and violated.

We ask all political decision makers to protect Malena. Please grant Malena the protection she deserves