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Should the death penalty be abolished?

Alvin Yuen, 19, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Whether capital punishment should be abolished is an ongoing debate. The focus should be on whether or not the death penalty is morally right. Do we have the right to condemn someone to death? For some, the answer is definitively no. But I think there are some very strong arguments for the use of capital punishment.

Firstly, capital punishment is the surest way to rid society of a dangerous criminal. A dead person cannot commit further crimes. Secondly, alternatives to capital punishment are costly and the burden for that expense is on the taxpayers. These resources could be spent in other areas such as providing for the sick and the elderly rather than feeding and taking care of imprisoned murderers.

Some people may argue that it is only fair for there to be a death penalty - 'an eye for an eye' as most people would call it. Criminals should suffer as much as the victims of their crimes. Saying it is not right to impose the death penalty is not fair to the victims of murderers.

Imposing the death penalty, in the right circumstances, is the proper thing to do.

Vincy Sun, 18, Hang Seng School of Commerce

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Recently, Taiwan celebrity Bai Bing-bing showed her public support for the death penalty, arguing it was an appropriate way to punish certain criminals. But different people have different ideas about what is 'appropriate'.

Most people think the death penalty is cruel, while others think it is the only way to deter criminals from committing the same crime again. In fact, the death penalty is as barbaric as any crime that criminals might commit.

The reason for society to have laws is to regulate citizens' behaviour, and hopefully educate them about what is right and wrong. The death penalty does not perform any educational functions. Criminals get no chance to reform and educate the public about what they have learned from their crimes.

It is wrong to assume that the death penalty is the only way to punish criminals effectively. There are many other ways to punish - and preferably reform - criminals.

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Education is the most suitable way to go. The prime task for us is to let these criminals know their mistakes and help them build a healthy and good attitude towards life. Education is a soft but effective way to bring about healthy attitudes among criminals and the public.

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