Laws ‘not the only means’ to suppress drug crimes

Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Issue 1068, Page 2
Word count: 467
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

Macau should not totally rely on the laws to suppress drug crimes and education is the key to prevent young people from getting involved, said Alex Chan Wa Keong, president of the Macau Legal System Research Association (AISJM).

The association gave a talk in Yuet Wah College yesterday, where around 350 Form 1 and Form 2 students participated.

Alex Chan told reporters that the activity aimed to let young people aware of the difference between crimes and deviant behaviours, and also to remind them that deviant behaviours are still “a violation of moral values and social norms”.

“High school students are most vulnerable to unhealthy influences and temptations and eventually crimes. So we hope to promote correct knowledge of the laws to young people and schools through this seminar,” he said.

A staff member from Yuet Wing College said seminars of a similar kind were usually held by the Government or the Social Welfare Bureau, and thus the school hoped that this cooperation with AISJM could give its students one more channel to learn about the laws.

On the other hand, when asked about the seemingly increasing juvenile drug cases in Macau and whether the related law should be revised, Alex Chan said it is “too soon” to do so and more appropriate to wait for a few more years.

The Law of the “Prohibition of Illegal Production, Trafficking and Abuse of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances”, which was revised in 2008 and came into effect last year, has already increased the penalties on offenders.

Heavier punishment has also been introduced for juvenile offenders in the law which must have “enhanced the deterrent effects” on young people, he added.

“Everywhere in the world is facing the challenges of how to prevent drug trafficking. Education and anti-drug operations are comparatively more important because laws can only deter the behaviours. “No country including China which has the death penalty is able to suppress all drug trafficking behaviours through legal means,” Chan told reporters.

In addition, Chan said he believed the recent increase in juvenile drug cases was not triggered by the lack of “deterrent effects” in the law, but young people were having more spare time during the summer holiday.

“Every year when the summer holiday is approaching, places around the world will also see a rise in their juvenile drug crimes,” he said.

Hence, Chan stressed that educating young people about positive moral values at schools is fundamental to the prevention of drug crimes among them.

Deviant behaviour, according to him, is a “moral concept which is different from committing crimes.

“Committing crimes is a deviant behaviour but deviant behaviour is not necessarily a crime. If a person has good moral and ethics, he or she will not have deviant behaviours and therefore won’t commit crimes,” he said.


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