The rough road to redemption

The rough road to redemption

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Jonathan Wong
Photo: Jonathan Wong

Troubled youth can always look to a better future, as shown by the stories of two teens who have put their youthful energy to better use, writes Wong Yat-hei

Frustrated and confused teenagers are susceptible to misbehaviour. Many get into trouble and ruin their lives, but it is never too late to change for the better.

Young Post talked to two young people who have put their troubles behind them and are looking on the brighter side of life.

Last year, Ah Hin, 14, was arrested for stealing his classmate's cellphone. He was very lucky to receive just a caution under 'police superintendent's discretion' - this means he won't have a criminal record.

He says he did it to make fun of his classmate and never thought he would be arrested.

'I was really surprised when officers came to my school and took me to the police station,' he says. 'I was kept in the detention room until 10pm, when my mother bailed me out.'

At the time, Ah Hin was very worried about having a criminal record. 'My future would be ruined if I had a criminal record. I felt very lonely when I was locked up. I don't really know why I did what I did. It was really silly,' he says. 'But looking on the bright side, this experience has given me the chance to practise boxing with the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups.'

Ah Hin was referred to the federation and began to learn boxing from policemen and firemen who are volunteers there. 'Boxing helped me become a more mature and steady person,' he says. 'My parents are extremely happy and supportive of me taking part in the sport. I have been boxing for about a year now and the gruelling training has inspired me not to give up when faced with adversity.'

Break-ups can often devastate young people, as was the case with Anna, 17. At the age of 15 she went through a depressing break-up with her boyfriend.

'After the break-up, the boy kept saying bad things about me and cursed me. I couldn't take it any more. I wanted to find a way out,' Anna says. 'I thought if I broke the law and got myself locked up in a correctional institution for a year or two, I would be able to get away from the nightmare.'

A week later, Anna was arrested at a supermarket for shoplifting. 'I went into the supermarket, grabbed the first thing in sight and stormed out. The siren sounded and I was stopped by the security guard. Later, the police came and took me to the police station.'

Anna recalled that she felt helpless. 'I was surrounded by many policemen but it just felt so cold sitting there, just facing a wall. I was locked up for more than 10 hours. When my mother came to bail me out, she did not say a word to me. All she did was weep.'

Anna has now put the past behind her, and is studying to be a beautician at the Institute of Vocational Education. 'I don't want to regret what I did,' she says. 'It was my own choice [and] ... it was silly, but now I can look forward [to a better future].'

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