Significant rise in children cybercriminals

Ke Jiayun
Prosecutors in Xuhui District say that Internet crime committed by minors is an increasing problem with more and more children able to access the Internet. 
Ke Jiayun

An increasing number of cybercrimes are being committed by children as more and more young people have access to the Internet, prosecutors in Xuhui District said on Friday.

A national report in 2018 showed that by July 31 that year there had been 169 million children using computers in China.

Problems arising from their online activities included cybercrime, offensive language and behavior, and hacking. 

In one case cited by Xuhui prosecutors, a boy called Zhang, along with others in a chat group, discovered a bug in an online finance platform’s system. They took advantage of the bug to transfer 100,000 yuan (US$14,000) to their bank accounts.

Members of the group then forwarded information about the bug and how to take advantage of it many times, resulting in the platform losing more than 15 million yuan. 

The culprits, most of them youths, were charged with theft and some were given jail terms of up to 10 years.

Prosecutors believe the lack of family education plays a critical role in the prevention of crimes committed by minors, with a survey indicating that about 90 percent of young offenders saying their crimes were related to their home environment.

Take the finance platform case for example. The minor offenders mainly come from single-parent families, families where parents were working far from home, or families with no responsible adults. 

Xuhui District People's Procuratorate is working with social workers and communities to educate the offenders’ parents.

It is also promoting legal education in schools, with online courses available during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

On Friday, Huangpu District People's Procuratorate held an open day ahead of Children’s Day on Monday with primary and secondary school students invited to take part in a workshop on minor-related cases and psychological counseling.

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