Lawmakers yesterday urged government agencies to make full use of technology to enhance the system used to find missing children, noting the large number of minors that have been reported missing in recent years.
The number of missing minors hovers at about 10,000 per year, People First Party Legislator Thomas Lee (李桐豪) said in the legislature, citing data from the National Police Agency (NPA).
“When looking for missing children or youngsters, related agencies should start with the media frequently used by them,” Lee said, adding that Facebook and smartphone apps were two examples of popular media used by the nation’s youth.
“Every possible means should be employed to help track down missing children,” Lee said.
Chen Kun-huang (陳坤皇), the secretary-general of the Ministry of the Interior’s Child Welfare Bureau, said that the bureau and the Child Welfare League Foundation have worked together for years to distribute posters of missing children and youngsters.
He said the public can call a special hotline on 0800-049-880 or check the bureau’s Web site to help search for missing children.
“However, we will enhance our efforts to look for missing children, taking into account the suggestion of Legislator Lee,” Chen said.
Chen said that most missing minors aged between 12 and 17 leave home on their own initiative, usually because they felt they had done something wrong, their parents were too strict or they had been influenced by their friends.
Hsieh Chen-cheng (謝振成), a section chief at the NPA, said statistics showed that 90 percent of cases of missing children between 2008 and last year had been solved, with the remaining 10 percent of unsolved cases showing that greater efforts needed to be made by the related agencies.
In addition, Lee urged police to do more to prevent youth crime, saying the number of crimes being committed by children and youngsters has increased significantly over the past few years.
Liu Po-liang (劉柏良), deputy director of the Criminal Investigation Bureau, said that last year, police stepped up efforts to crack down on crime on school campuses.
Police officers found that the number of incidents of bullying had increased in schools, as well as cases of joyriding and drug use, Liu said.