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Rise in minors helping adults commit online crimes

By CAO YIN | | Updated: 2023-09-15 16:07
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More juveniles were found to have helped adults commit online crimes in Beijing last year, a report said, calling on parents and schools to pay more attention to the issue.

The report, which was released by the Beijing People's Procuratorate on Friday, showed that a total of 283 people younger than 18 were prosecuted in 2022, and a majority of them were taken to courts on suspicion of using the internet to commit crimes.

"Some juveniles illegally hacked into computer systems, while some used the internet to defraud and purchase drugs," Yue Xiangyang, deputy procurator-general of the procuratorate, said while introducing the report at a news conference.

The number of minors on suspicion of providing aid for adults to commit online crimes, such as online scams, is rapidly growing, he added.

"For example, we found some youngsters offered bank card numbers to scammers after being told they could be paid this way," said Zhang Ningyu, head of the procuratorate's ninth office. "Many of the minors did that because they didn't know such behavior had violated laws or even constituted a crime."

In a case, a student surnamed Yang, then 16 years old from a vocational school in the capital, provided 11 bank cards to strangers while using a chat software, and the cards were all found to be used for online fraud, according to Zhang.

Considering Yang was a minor without criminal record, prosecutors in Changping district decided not to charge him with a crime, but gave him six-month probation, Zhang said.

"During the probation, the Changping prosecutors, along with social workers, offered Yang with law knowledge, and took him to nursing care center to provide free services, helping the minor to enhance awareness of legal affairs," she added.

Highlighting the principle - education first, punishment second - in the fight against juvenile crimes, the report revealed that 94.67 percent of minor criminals received lenient punishment in 2022, such as imprisonment of no more than three years, custody or fine.

It also said that the city saw a drop of violent crimes made by juveniles, including intentional homicide, intentional injury, rape, robbery and explosion, last year.

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