1st Edition

Responding to Youth Crime in Hong Kong Penal Elitism, Legitimacy and Citizenship

By Michael Adorjan, Wing Hong Chui Copyright 2014
    164 Pages 11 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    178 Pages 11 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    A society’s response to youth crime reveals much about its broader cultural values, social circumstances, and political affairs. This book examines reactions and policy responses to youth delinquency and crime in Hong Kong during its colonial and post-colonial periods, and in doing so, underscores the history of Hong Kong itself and its present-day circumstances.

    Exploring how officials have responded to youth crime in Hong Kong over time, this book tracks the emergence of a penal elitist mode of governance, highlighting concerns not only about young people’s behavior but the need for officials to establish state authority and promote citizen identification. In turn, it reveals an alternative to the ‘usual story’ about youth crime found in many western regions and provides an opportunity to begin to develop a comparative criminology. The book examines the emergence of the ‘disciplinary welfare’ tariff during the 1970s, debates and policy changes related to the minimum age of criminal responsibility and youth sex crimes, and inaction regarding the introduction of restorative justice initiatives in the post-colonial era. It also addresses the power of ‘Post-80s’ youth to protest and challenge government policies, which directly combat contemporary fears regarding the ‘mainlandization’ of Hong Kong.

    Drawing on archival sources, official reports and interviews with key stakeholders in the juvenile justice system, Responding to Youth Crime in Hong Kong will appeal to students and scholars interested in Chinese society, criminology, social work, sociology and youth studies.

    1. Introduction 2. Crime, Legitimacy and Governance in Hong Kong 3. Juvenile Delinquency in Hong Kong – Existing Trends and Research 4. Methodology 5. Riotous Opportunities 6. Raising the Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility 7. Resisting Restorative Justice 8. Youth and Sex Crimes 9. Problem Youth and the Spectrum of Citizenship 10. Conclusion


    Michael Adorjan is Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Calgary, Canada.

    Wing Hong Chui is Associate Professor in the Department of Social Work and Social Administration and Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education, Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Hong Kong.

    "Adorjan and Chui offer a stunning perspective on Hong Kong’s political responses to youth over time, and a compelling case study of the pressures that are brought to bear on a society’s core understanding of young people.  Not to be missed, this fascinating work is an important contribution to comparative criminology and youth justice."

    Don Cipriani, Ph.D., author of Children's Rights and the Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility: A Global Perspective.

    "Adorjan and Chui have not only provided us with an accessible scholarly analysis of youth crime and juvenile/youth justice in Hong Kong. They have also contributed to an evolving body of work from South-east Asia that opens new doors and significantly advances our understanding of comparative criminology."

    Professor Barry Goldson, University of Liverpool, UK.

    "In Responding to Youth Crime in Hong Kong, Adorjan and Chui, through a careful examination of the key issues and debates on juvenile delinquency in different historical contexts, have given us an original and insightful analysis of institutional responses to youth delinquency and crime in Hong Kong. Their perceptive discussion of the historical structuration of state-society relations and the configuration of a penal elitist mode of governance points to a new set of research questions for future studies. This is a Hong Kong case study but the authors are able to relate their discussion to the broader concerns of comparative criminology, youth studies, social work, and sociological studies of deviance."

    Professor Tai-lok Lui, University of Hong Kong.