A 17-year-old male student in Greater Taichung apparently attempted to rob a local store in a bid to get attention from his parents, police said yesterday.
Police said that a second-grader at a private high school in Taichung, identified only as “Little Chieh (小傑),” allegedly entered a convenience store on Minzu Road in Shengang District (神岡) wearing a helmet and a mask at about 3:10am on Friday.
The 17-year-old allegedly brandished a watermelon knife at the clerk behind the counter, who was also a high-school student and begged for mercy, police said. The would-be perpetrator did not take any money and swiftly fled after a customer came into the store.
Attempting to cover up his tracks, the suspect made a detour around Daya District (大雅) for a while, police said, but the license plate of his motorcycle was captured by a surveillance camera.
As police raided the 17-year-old’s home at 6:20am the same day, he immediately confessed to the robbery, but said he had only committed the crime “because of his parents’ strict discipline and his desire to get their attention,” police said.
After hearing his son’s confession, Little Chieh’s parents broke down into tears, bemoaning that they had been “totally in the dark about their son’s serious misunderstanding of them.”
“Although I’m not a wealthy man, our son is from a well-off family and does not need to rob people,” the father, a ballroom dancing teacher, told police, pleading with them to convince the judge to give his son a second chance.
The 17-year-old has been transferred to a juvenile court on charges of attempted robbery.
Chang Pi-hua (張碧華), director of the Humanistic Education Foundation’s central branch, said that adolescents who have not reached adulthood are generally in conflictive states of mind, in which, on one hand, they want to be in charge, but simultaneously crave their parents’ protection and affections.
“During this phase, parents should make their children feel they are cared for, rather than giving them orders or criticism,” Chang said.
Otherwise, young people may tend to seek to vent their frustrations based on misinterpretations of parental behavior, which often leads to undesirable results, she said.
Translated by Stacy Hsu, Staff Writer