FIRST came smoking, truancy and cheating in school examinations, then shoplifting, heroin and finally assault, which resulted in a criminal conviction. Sixteen-year-old Ah Wing (not his real name) was caught last year in a gang fight and after 54 days' detention is on 18 months' probation. 'I never thought I would be caught. I thought [shoplifting, taking heroin and the assault] were no big deal. 'I did that just for fun. My friends did that so I followed. That is friendship,' said Ah Wing, who quit school last year without finishing Form Two. He was once a 'good boy' who earned many certificates from child and youth centres. But things started turning bad when he reached Primary Six. 'I hated going to school. Instead I loved skipping lessons and hanging around the streets with other classmates and neighbours,' he said. 'We went to electronic game centres and gathered in playgrounds. It was at that time I started smoking and later taking drugs. Sometimes we ran away from home, broke into empty public rental units and stayed there for several days.' 'Sometimes my mother scolded me for staying away from home. But I don't care. I seldom talk to her. I spend most of my time meeting my friends.' Last year he was caught in a gang fight and although it was his first offence, he now has a criminal record. 'I am worried this will ruin my future.' Ah Wing is determined to protect his 11-year-old brother. 'I will beat him if he dares smoke or shoplift or fight others because I don't want him to be caught by the police.'