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Teens who run away are driven by family problems: M'sia police
Publication Date : 28-12-2013
Missing persons in Malaysia, mostly those under 18, are mainly runaways driven by family problems and a craving for freedom.
Bukit Aman D11 (sexual crimes, domestic violence and child abuse investigations division) principal assistant director Assistant Commissioner Hamidah Yunus said most of them were between 13 and 17 years old.
“Some crave for freedom while others were rebelling against their parents.
“It is also common for them to run away with their boyfriends or girlfriends,” she said, commenting on a recent statement by Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation vice-chairman Lee Lam Thye on the issue.
Lee, quoting Malaysian police headquarters Bukit Aman statistics, said on Thursday 5,721 people were reported missing last year but only 3,127 (or 54.7%) of them were later found.
He had stated that from January 1 to December 23 this year a total of 4,998 people had been reported missing but only 2,382 (or 48%) were found.
Hamidah said most runaways would be found or returned home after their “rebellious” phase ended.
“The problem is that some parents failed to inform the police when their children return home,” she said adding that some families shifted homes and this made it hard for the police to track them down.
Meanwhile, Community Policing (COPS) founder Kuan Chee Heng said the majority of those reported missing were teens who “do not want to be found”.
“They are usually from problematic, low-income families who are not receiving proper care and attention from their parents.
“So these children go looking for love elsewhere, like on the Internet. The euphoria of love excites them so much that they are willing to leave their households for it,” he said.
Though running away posed no immediate danger to the child, Kuan said it was a crime under the Penal Code and the Child Act for anyone to keep a person, especially a minor, from their parents.
However, the anti-crime activist conceded that some runaways had valid reasons to take off.
“This is especially those who have been abused or sexually assaulted. But I urge these people not to run away, but instead, contact the police or welfare department. Such children should never be left with abusive families,” he said.