Just when we might forget about juvenile crimes, serious live videos of juvenile violence are posted on social media. A recent incident occurred on October 22nd, when a group of teenagers, born in 2006, attacked another teenager. The video was titled “Teenagers Mob Violence” on SNS. The video showed an elementary school girl with a nosebleed and her face covered with blood in a karaoke room being bullied by several middle school girls. In addition, a female student who appeared to be around her age was seen beating the victim's forehead with her palm. What is more, there was another video released on SNS without mosaic processing, and the second damage, which was the infringement of the right not to be identified, occurred. The seriousness of the incident increased and people's petition has also been filed to punish the perpetrator, with 220,000 people joined the day after the petition began. In addition to this case, petitions regarding amendment of the juvenile law have been raised more than six times since 2017 due to the seriousness of the juvenile crime and the contradiction of the juvenile law. Citizens' interest has risen to the point that each petition gains agreements from at least 200,000 people. Let’s find out more about juvenile law and juvenile crime that has been controversial in recent years.
The state of juvenile law
1. Criminal minors over the age of 10 and under the age of 14 are classified as law-provoking beings and are required to be protected. Unlike ordinary adult criminals, they are required to do volunteer activities or be on probation for a certain period.
2. The juvenile law takes precedence over the criminal law for those aged between 14 and 19 years old. Those individuals would face a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison for the most severe crimes, whereas adults would be sentenced to death or life in prison.
Juvenile crime case
1.Gwan-Ak Mountain Mob Attack case
The assailants, middle school students, committed elaborate premeditated crimes. They prepared for wood sticks in the mountain and attempted to destroy evidence by changing a mobile phone sim card. As a result, the victim lived with a hose on his esophagus (tracheotomy) and bruises all over his body. It is as if an adult-level organized crime was committed. The crime occurred because the assailant got angry with the victim having a close relationship with her boyfriend.
2. Busan middle school girl student assault incident
Public opinion once heated up after a bloody photo of the victim, a middle school girl, was released on SNS without any mosaic. The public was deeply shocked when the cruelty of the perpetrators was revealed. Perpetrators dragged her into the alley of a nearby metal manufacturer's factory where they assaulted the victim violently. The victim had her head cut and hurt her mouth. This was a crime of middle school students.
3. Gang rape case of a high school girl in Yeong-Gwang
It was an incident in a motel room in Yeong-Gwang County where a high school boy intentionally made a high school girl drink a lot of alcohol, then sexually assaulted her and neglected her, leading her to death. The assailants deliberately forced the victim to drink by “playing” a drinking game. The perpetrators themselves drank hangover drinks to avoid getting drunk. The victim drank nearly three bottles of soju in an hour and a half. The cause of death is acute alcoholism. This incident started with the perpetrators’ intention of having forced sex with the victim.
All three cases were subjected to ridiculously light punishments under the current juvenile law, even though the crimes were systematically and meticulously committed. In the case of the Gwan-Ak Mountain mob attack, one perpetrator, who was under the age of 14, was transferred to the juvenile division. Among all the perpetrators, the main culprit was sentenced to prison for a short period of time compared with the seriousness of the crime. The rest of the assailants were sentenced to only three years in prison. In the case of the Busan middle school case, the assailants were given protection instead of punishment. In the case of the gang rape case of a high school girl in Yeong-Gwang, the perpetrators were sentenced to five years in prison. The crime was callous and very cruel, but the punishment given was ridiculously light when compared with adults. This situation can cause irreparable harm to the victim and anxiety in society.
The view that juvenile law be abolished or punishment be strengthened.
The target of juvenile delinquency is adolescents
Most of the victims of violent juvenile crimes are in the same age group as the perpetrators. Are the victims not subjected to be protected by law? If the perpetrator comes out to society after the sentence, because of too light and short periods of protective disposal or imprisonment, the victim must undergo unimaginable suffering again just by the fact that the perpetrators go out into the society again without being completely isolated.
The view that the juvenile law should be kept in place.
Ninety-five percent of juvenile offenders are minor offenses of livelihood.
If the juvenile law is abolished and criminally disposed, even boys who can be rehabilitated through the juvenile law would possibly be branded as criminals and cannot return to society. Abolishing the juvenile law or strengthening punishment does not fit the purpose of the juvenile law whose main aim is to protect those under 20. It may also be a catalyst for them to commit another crime in the future.
List of bills submitted by the National Assembly
Currently, lawmakers have submitted the following bills to the National Assembly as the contradictions of the juvenile law and the seriousness of juvenile crime have emerged. The lists are as follows:
1. Adjust the age of juvenile punishment from 19 to 18.
2. Revise the Tentative Boys Act which states that those under the age of 14 are not subjected to be punished by crimes.
3. For the repetitive juvenile offenders, treat them as general criminals and punish them.
4. Strengthen the protection period for juveniles from the current two years to four years.
5. Deletion of regulations restricting the issuance of arrest warrants for juvenile
6. Strengthen from up to 15 years in prison to 30 years in prison for crimes of the level of death or life imprisonment.
The purpose of the juvenile law is to make juvenile criminals restore to society through the protection and rehabilitation of juveniles. Looking back on the current events, however, one might wonder about the existence of juvenile law. If the juvenile law protects the perpetrator with ridiculous punishment, who will protect the most important victim's wounds?< Copyright © The Gachon Herald All rights reserved >