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|Saturday, August 19, 2000, updated at 11:54(GMT+8)|
Legislator Advocates Lower Age for Criminal ResponsibilityA legislator of the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) said at a seminar in Macao Friday that the age for criminal responsibility should be lowered from the present 16 years in an effort to deter youngsters from being involved in criminal cases.
The current Criminal Law of Macao stipulates that people under the age of 16 can be exempted from criminal penalty and those between 16 and 18 can have their criminal punishment mitigated by the court. Only those over the age of 18 should take full responsibility of their conduct.
"I think the age limit is inconsistent with the present conditions of maturity of youngsters in Macao," lawyer and legislator Vong Hin Fai said at the seminar marking the Judicial Police Day of Macao.
He noted that over the past several years, increasing number of crimes involving youngsters has drawn public concern.
In order to check juvenile delinquency and the misuse of age protection for youngsters, the minimum age for criminal responsibility should be lowered, he said.
"With the fact that youngsters commit crimes at the instigation of adults in many cases, Macao should in the meantime enact legal statements demanding that adult people who entice youngsters to commit crimes must shoulder heavier penalty," the legislator said.
On the other hand, the rights of minors should be protected. Appropriate punishment is aimed at assisting them to stay away from misconduct. "They should not be ruined by a criminal tag in the rest of their life," Vong Hin Fai said.
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