REPORT: Country sees unexpected surge in elderly crime wave

Seoul (CNN) — In South Korea, teenage gangs aren’t necessarily a threat. Increasingly, it’s the elderly you need to watch out for.

That’s according to official statistics, which recorded a 45% increase in the past five years in crimes committed by people age 65 and over. Serious crimes including murder, arson, rape and robbery rose 70%, from about a thousand cases in 2013 to more than 1,800 in 2017.

The article goes on to state the following:

In one case, in November, a man in his 70s was arrested for allegedly assaulting a courier over a late parcel. When police arrived, it emerged the man had forgotten he’d already received the package two days earlier.

In August, another septuagenarian allegedly killed two civil servants and injured a neighbor over a water dispute. And in April, a 69-year-old woman reportedly poured pesticide into a fish stew due to be served at a village event.

More than 14% of South Koreans are over 65, making the country an official “aged society” under a United Nations classification.
Yet while they are living longer, many cannot support themselves financially as they age. About 60% of elderly Koreans do not qualify for the national pension, which was not introduced until 1988 or made compulsory until the late 1990s, and in 2017 half were living in relative poverty.
“With no jobs to allow the elderly to contribute to society, they feel disconnected and this can lead to animosity toward others, depression and antisocial behavior,” said Cho Youn-oh, a professor and criminologist at Seoul’s Dongguk University. “Isolation and feeling that they have nothing to lose could lead them to lose control and behave recklessly. People with more connections to society through family and jobs tend to have more self control — that can stop them from (committing crimes).”

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Author: Dean Daniels

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