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Prosecutors see rise in juvenile crime

2013-08-22 10:42 Global Times Web Editor: Sun Tian

A growing number of juveniles have been caught committing crimes at entertainment establishments such as night clubs and karaoke bars, the municipal prosecutor's office said Wednesday.

Juvenile crime at entertainment establishments has been on the rise since 2010, according to a press release from the Shanghai Municipal People's Prosecutor's Office. The number of cases against suspects under age 18 rose from 46 cases involving 70 suspects in 2010 to 80 cases involving 112 suspects in 2012. The majority of the suspects were from outside Shanghai.

The prosecutor's office did not explain the reasons behind the increase.

The crimes committed by the juvenile offenders primarily consisted of fighting, robbery, fraud and rape.

About 64 percent of the criminals were charged with crimes involving violence such as instigating fights, assault and brawling. In downtown districts such as Huangpu, Xuhui and Jing'an, juvenile offenders usually committed the crimes in clubs. In the outer districts, such as Jiading, Minhang and Pudong New Area, most of the crimes happened in karaoke bars, arcades and Internet cafés.

It is difficult to prevent juveniles from getting into these kinds of places because the law allows them inside under some circumstances, the prosecutor's office said.

According to regulations governing admission into entertainment establishments that took effect in 2006, no one under 18 years old is allowed to enter dance clubs, karaoke bars or other clubs for dancing or singing purposes. Juveniles are prohibited from playing video games in arcades except during weekends and national holidays.

The prosecutor's office held a seminar last week with several government agencies to work on the problem. It called for the law to be broadened to prevent juvenile crime in all entertainment establishments.

The authorities also said that they found 35 juvenile offenders working in entertainment establishments, accounting for about 12 percent of the total number of offenders. Another 15 offenders earned commissions on what customers spent in the club.

However, the authorities found it difficult to collect evidence in these cases because the venues usually don't have formal employment contracts with juveniles. Most of them work under oral agreements.

Under the regulations, entertainment establishments can be fined up to 5,000 yuan ($816) for every juvenile they illegally employ in a given month.

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