Violent crimes by teens on the rise in S.Korea

SOUTH KOREA - A 12-member theft ring consisting entirely of teenagers was nabbed by police in South Gyeongsang Province on Wednesday. The ring stole about 100 million won (S$113,000) using a stolen Mercedes, and even used female members to lure men into motels before robbing them.

Recent reports and statistics appear to suggest that the number of teenagers committing violent crimes is on the rise.

According to "2012 Statistics on Teenagers" by Statistics Korea, the proportion of violent crimes perpetrated by teenagers increased to 3.5 per cent in 2010 from 2.8 per cent in 2009.

Another example of violent teenage crime by teenagers took place last month when a 16-year-old girl, after luring a 30-year-old man into having sex with her, called up her friend and mugged him. She and two others were taken into custody by police.

Some experts suggest that youngsters are becoming more violent because they are exposed to a barrage of violence in their everyday lives.

"Teenagers these days are bombarded with information related to violence coming from news or movies. The information (from those sources) allows them to commit crimes more easily," Professor Gwak Dae-gyeong of Dongguk University's Department of Police Administration told local media.

Between the parents pampering their children, and educators overemphasizing students' rights, Gwak said today's teens are gradually becoming more self-centred.

"Many teens nowadays have a tendency to duck responsibility but claim rights, which makes it hard for other people to discipline them."

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