PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 24 February, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 24 February, 2010, 12:00am

Education can help curb juvenile crime

Every day you read news reports on various crimes, including sexual offences, robbery, fraud and drug smuggling. Many people have expressed particular concern over the rise in juvenile crime.

Last year two teenage girls robbed a taxi driver ('Girls of 15 and 13 sentenced to rehabilitation and probation after knifepoint robbery', August 28). This illustrates that there is nothing more important than educating our next generation in order to curb this worsening trend.

Education is essential as it deals with the underlying causes of the problem.

It helps teenagers acquire the correct value system. I think most teenagers commit crimes because they are labouring under a misconception. They think they can act with impunity because they are under 18.

They do not feel they have to worry about the consequences of their actions. During adolescence they have to be taught the importance of accepting responsibilities when they become adults.

If more Hong Kong youngsters learn this important lesson, then I think we will see a reduction in juvenile crime rates.

Somewhere in the school syllabus there must be room for this kind of education.

Students should be told about instances of crimes committed by teenagers and the kinds of punishment they received in the courts.

This will definitely raise teenagers' awareness of the consequences of committing crimes.

They have to realise that when they commit crimes they affect other people, such as the victims and their family members and their own families.

If they take drugs, they have to be aware of the health issues involved. Committing a sexual offence will mentally scar a victim for life.

I believe effective education can help to reduce juvenile crime figures.

Eunice Cheung, Lam Tin

Rules are clear for bar staff

I refer to the letter by Martin Reynolds ('Don't blame bartenders', February 19) replying to my letter ('Bartenders are responsible', February 13).

Your correspondent may be interested to know about the Training for Intervention Procedures for alcohol servers as well as the liquor laws regarding bartenders and 7-Eleven staff in Hong Kong.

What you learn in these procedures is that as an alcohol server you are responsible for your actions in serving. It is part of the job.

Just as a bartender would be negligent if she served a minor, she is also responsible for serving safely.

The actual rule is: 'No person shall be allowed to become drunk on the premises, nor shall liquor be supplied to any person who is drunk.'

It is the bartender's right to decide whom she serves.

You can tell when someone is nearing a buzzed state - not just by words spoken but actions, noise level and the surrounding behaviour of his party.

A person does not just wander behind the bar and drink all they want.

The bartender serves every drink, or bottle, and is required to watch what happens because of the deadly consequences, from alcohol poisoning to drink- driving.

7-Eleven stores are slightly different. You can't open the bottle or drink in the store.

These outlets cannot 'sell, or advertise or expose for sale, or supply, or possess for sale or supply' for any place that does not have a liquor licence.

So, if you see a 7-Eleven employee in Lan Kwai Fong open a liquor bottle for someone, and you call the police and bust him, you may have just saved a pedestrian's life. As for the drunk, he will get his punishment.

Annelise Connell, Stanley

Economic woes caused by PM

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is being disingenuous with his claims about business in Britain ('The best place in Europe for business', February 22). Once planned tax rises come into force in 2011, Britain will be the most highly taxed major financial centre in the world.

What is more, our businesses suffer under a regulatory burden that costs more than 10 per cent of gross domestic product every year.

Thanks largely to Mr Brown's mismanagement of the economy, Britain was the first major economy to enter recession, the last to leave it, and now has the biggest budget deficit of any country in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Unless things change, your readers should expect to see lots of Britons turning up at Chek Lap Kok airport in the years ahead.

Tom Clougherty, executive director, Adam Smith Institute, London

Action needed over bad driving

The fatal accident at the go-kart track in Tuen Mun on February 17 was very sad indeed, especially for family and friends who knew the girl.

The time being taken to investigate this accident is totally justified to try to ensure it does not happen again.

That said, accidents do happen.

I only wish and hope that the police would give half the attention to the actual driving on the roads of Hong Kong, where there are several deaths and thousands of injuries every year.

Driving in Hong Kong has become almost impossible, due to the extremely low driving standards. But I do not actually blame the drivers.

There are problems relating to driving lessons and to the need for police to enforce the laws.

For example, there is nothing in the Highway Code explaining how motorists should behave at a roundabout.

It is high time this government took responsibility for making Hong Kong's roads safer.

I travel every week to the mainland. I can honestly say that driving standards there are no longer any worse than they are in Hong Kong.

Brian Mahoney, Sai Kung

This city needs electric vehicles

I refer to your editorial ('Time for tougher action on polluting trucks', February 17).

I would suggest that instead of continuing with this scheme ('to get old, polluting vehicles off the streets'), our government should adopt a policy of converting all vehicles to zero emissions. At present, conversion to electrical power seems the best choice.

I believe that the amount of money required to do such a conversion would be only 50 per cent more than the present scheme.

Recently I applied for a government Innovation and Technology Fund grant to carry out 10 demonstration conversions from petrol- and diesel-powered vehicles to full electric power.

The vehicles I chose included taxis, minibuses, trucks and a small coach.

My proposal was rejected, however, because it did not have sufficient commercial value. It was considered uneconomical because the converted vehicles would be unlikely to be given road registration.

One really wonders if our government is interested in promoting green, zero-emission transport?

Nigel Lam, Kowloon Tong

Skewed view of dissident Liu

Peter Lok's self-appointed role as master apologist for the stability-obsessed central government is well known to regular readers of this page.

His latest letter ('Leaders face thankless task', February 17) is truly beyond the pale.

He attempts to paint the Beijing government as the victim of prominent dissident Liu Xiaobo's attempt to exercise the freedom of speech guaranteed all citizens by the Chinese constitution.

It is as though it was the government that was thrown into the mainland's gulag by the all-powerful Liu following a pathetic show trial, rather than the reverse.

As the lawyer Joseph Welch said to Senator Joseph McCarthy in the most dramatic moment of the 1954 US Senate hearings: 'Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last?'

Steve Fore, Kowloon Tong

Enough laws

Is Grace Pow ('Treat police with respect', February 22) aware that hurling abuse at the police cannot result in officers being injured?

While I agree with Ms Pow that we should all treat the police with respect, I do not think it is necessary to enact a new law for this rather specific act.

The police already have a range of legal charges they can use in appropriate circumstances, including obstructing an officer, disturbing the peace and - if the actions go beyond verbal abuse and become physical - a person can be charged with assault.

I trust that the police are professionals, trained to handle heated situations coolly and secure in the knowledge that the majority of the public support them - even those who were shouting, once their anger has faded.

We do not need an over-specific law that can be too easily misused.

Allan Dyer, Wong Chuk Hang

Wake-up call

I wrote to the South China Morning Post in 2008, drawing attention to the illegal structures put up in many of the multi-storey buildings in Kwun Tong.

Given that there has been little or no change in this state of affairs, it is obvious nothing has been done by the relevant department.

The collapse of an old building in To Kwa Wan last month has now made the government realise it must act in order to protect lives.

I hope officials will not take a piecemeal approach to this problem.

Peter Wei, Kwun Tong