October 27, 2022 13:23
In an effort to tackle a rise in serious crimes committed by juveniles, the government plans to lower the minimum age of criminal responsibility from 14 to 13.
Currently juvenile offenders between 10 and 14 do not face criminal charges and are instead sent to juvenile detention centers, while their records are eventually expunged.
The Justice Ministry on Wednesday announced plans to revise the relevant law, which it will submit to the National Assembly for approval by the end of the year.
But the ministry said it will consider making it impossible for juvenile criminal records to be accessed so that the young offenders will not experience disadvantages in entering university or finding jobs later in life.
Despite a decline in Korea's youth population, crimes committed by minors rose from 7,897 cases in 2017 to 12,502 last year. The ratio of violent crimes to total offenses committed by minors also increased from 2.3 percent in 2005 to 4.86 percent in 2020.
The ministry also said that minors are now physically bigger than in 1953, when the law was created, while 13-year-olds now account for some 70 percent of all juvenile offenders.
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