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Crimes by seniors grows over last decade: police

The China Post news staff--Crimes committed by Taiwan's senior citizens have increased over the past 10 years, a phenomenon that experts said underscores problems facing the elderly.

According to National Police Agency data, crimes committed by seniors over 65 years of age increased from some 4,000 in 2002 to 7,126 last year. The number peaked at 8,964 back in 2010.

Crimes committed by females over the age of 65 increased from some 400 back in the early 2000s to 1,521 last year.

Yet the crime rate among seniors has stayed at a steady 3-percent level in recent years. Taiwan has 2.554 million citizens over the age of 65, or about 10.98 percent of the country's population.

Among some of the more unusual cases, police at the beginning of the year arrested a 70-year-old woman who allegedly ran a drug-selling ring in Lugu, Nantou County. Police seized from her compound 21 bags of amphetamine, each weighing 28.4 grams, as well as ammunition. Her underlings were all less than 30, young enough to be her grandchildren.

Upon her arrest, the woman yelled that she needed more cash, as the money offered by the National Annuity Program wasn't enough. In response to this the police officers present were reportedly speechless.

In another case, eight senior citizens from a community in Tainan were arrested recently on charges of sexually assaulting young girls in the community — an incident that sent shockwaves around both the city and the country.

According to experts, these incidents underscored the problems facing senior citizens, some of whom are lonely and financially strapped. Continued anger and frustration may drive them to criminal behavior, experts said.

Young people are urged to spend more time with their parents, experts said.

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