Youth crime is a big problem these days. In urban, competitive societies like Hong Kong, teenagers can easily be led astray and may even end up joining triad gangs.
There are a number of reasons why young people may go down this path; they may lack other engaging hobbies, or they could be influenced by the media or peers into believing crime is “cool”. What’s more, teenagers can often feel lost or vulnerable, and be easily persuaded or coerced into committing crimes.
Of course, this poses a problem for the rest of society. The solution? Contrary to popular belief, it is not to simply punish kids who commit crimes; rather, we should look at the causes of juvenile delinquency and take preventive action.
The government should educate young people about the consequences of crime, but more importantly, young people who are struggling should be offered guidance and counselling. Families, schools, and the authorities must come together to address this.
Anson Cheung Hin-yiu, S.K.H Lam Woo Memorial Secondary School
From the editor
Thank you for your letter, Anson. Teenagers making bad choices in their lives is not something that is ever going to stop. But that does not mean we should not take it seriously.
In general, Hong Kong youngsters are well behaved, and in fact parents and strong social values have a lot to do with that. But there are still plenty of mischievous ones.
It is difficult, however, when all around them young people can see massive advertisements for luxury goods. It’s logical to think that crime will bring them swift rewards.
What they don’t understand is that they risk so much. Those who think getting involved with gangs is a good idea will find it hard to quit and get sucked into worse crimes.
Worse still, people who commit crimes are also more likely to be victims of crime and are often unable to get help when they are.
And last, but by no means least, when someone has a criminal record, it’s for life. It affects their chances of getting a job, finding the right partner or even travelling overseas.
While youth crime is not a huge problem in Hong Kong, it certainly is a serious one, and hopefully we can all work together to solve it.