Confused over right, wrong
Police statistics show that arrests of minors, in proportion to the total number of arrests, have been increasing, despite a decrease in overall number of arrests.
Teenagers accounted for 12.7 per cent of all arrests in 1995, 13.7 per cent in 1996, 14.3 per cent in 1997 and nearly 14.5 per cent last year.
More than a third of the youths were arrested for shoplifting, but nearly 13 per cent were caught for much more serious crimes.
Adolescents became confused over what was right and wrong if nobody helped them to think, Lee Tak-wai, a social worker from the Hong Kong Playground Association, said.
'Bad elements in society take advantage of innocent students to do illegal things for them, such as selling pirated goods, while oth ers hope they will be lucky enough not to get caught,' said Ms Lee. She said youths who did not receive proper care and guidance from their families or schools, were liable to become truants.