Govt. discusses measures to prevent growing peer violence among teens

By Yonhap
  • Published : Sept 12, 2017 - 10:34
  • Updated : Sept 12, 2017 - 10:34
Top South Korean officials held an urgent meeting Tuesday to tackle increasing peer violence among teenagers after video footage of a cruel beating recently triggered public outrage.

Education Minister Kim Sang-gon hosted the meeting that involved top officials from the fields of justice, culture, youth, police and broadcasting. Kim doubles as deputy prime minister for social affairs.
Education Minister Kim Sang-gon (2nd from R, at table) holds a meeting with other ministers and officials from related government agencies to discuss measures against rising juvenile crime in Seoul on Sept. 12, 2017. (Yonhap)

Juvenile crimes have surfaced as a pressing issue since video footage of a middle school girl bleeding profusely after being attacked by a group of her peers in the southern city of Busan went viral early this month.

Many other similar cases were revealed later, including one in which a high school girl in the eastern city of Gangneung was brutally assaulted by her peers in July.

The extreme violence sent shockwaves through the country as the media reported that the young assailants shared the beating via social media and exchanged messages that suggested they were amused by their actions.

"The recent peer violence cases are too cruel for us to deal with as simple juvenile crimes. It is important that we draw up effective measures to prevent a recurrence of such cases," Kim said.

The officials noted that a lot of the juvenile delinquents who committed these crimes have dropped out of school and run away from home, and many of them are copying what they have seen in movies. Secondary damage caused by social media attention and cyberbullying as a result of these videos becoming public must also be considered, they said.

Kim called on the justice ministry to consider the revision of laws related to juvenile crimes and step up correctional programs for those on probation to prevent repeat crimes.

On Monday, President Moon Jae-in called for discussion of the revision of juvenile crime law, as young criminals are subject to light punishment under the current legal system. (Yonhap)