Tue, Dec 04, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Boy’s death sparks call for tougher laws on arcades

Staff writer, with CNA

A Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmaker yesterday called for stricter laws to regulate the electronic games industry to protect children’s safety, following the recent killing of a minor in an arcade.

KMT Legislator Alicia Wang(王育敏) said she plans to propose amendments to the Electronic Game Arcade Business Regulation Act (電子遊戲場業管理條例), suggesting that children under the age of 15 should be accompanied by an adult in arcades.

In addition, Wang said she would propose that general games arcades should not be established within 200m of schools, and adults-only arcades should be at least 1,000m away from schools.

Moreover, general and restricted arcades should be operated separately, she said.

The legislator’s proposals came after a 10-year-old boy was killed in the lavatory of an arcade in Greater Tainan on Saturday. A police investigation showed that his trachea and carotid artery had been cut, causing near-instant death.

According to the investigation, the boy was allegedly enticed into the lavatory by the main suspect, a 29-year-old surnamed Tseng (曾).

Tseng, who was arrested the same day, said in a statement that his resentment toward society was the result of long-term unemployment and the burden of debt.

He picked a victim at random with the express intention of being jailed for life, the police said, adding that Tseng said that if he had not been caught, he would have continued to commit crimes.

In addition to the proposal, Wang urged arcade operators and schools to educate children about how to be safe in public places and protect themselves against strangers.

Ministry of Economic Affairs official Yang Shu-ling (楊淑玲) said that the establishment of electronic games businesses is regulated by local governments, but added that the ministry would take Wang’s proposal into consideration to amend the law.

The killing triggered a public outcry and renewed the death penalty debate, because the suspect reportedly told the police that “killers are not sentenced to death in Taiwan anymore, so I can spend the rest of my life in jail.”

Vice Minister of Justice Wu Chen-huan (吳陳鐶) said in an interview yesterday that since society has not reached a consensus on whether to abolish the death penalty, the current policy is to reduce the number of executions carried out.

Under the current law, people convicted of homicide could be sentenced to death, life imprisonment or more than 10 years in jail.

Judges hand down sentences on a case-by-case basis, giving consideration to a defendant’s motives and the degree of remorse shown, Wu said.

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