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Child Homicide in Hong Kong 1989-1998



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Child Homicide in Hong Kong 1989-1998 by Ming-Yan Sham
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This dissertation, "Child Homicide in Hong Kong 1989-1998" by Ming-yan, Sham, 岑明恩, was obtained from The University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong) and is being sold pursuant to Creative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License. The content of this dissertation has not been altered in any way. We have altered the formatting in order to facilitate the ease of printing and reading of the dissertation. All rights not granted by the above license are retained by the author. Abstract: Abstract of thesis entitled "CHILD HOMICIDE IN HONG KONG, 1989-1998" Submitted by Sham Ming Yan For the degrees of Master of Philosophy at the University of Hong Kong in August 2005 The homicide of children is a rare but extreme crime that has occurred in every society throughout the history. It often evokes moral outrage because it violates the fundamental social norm that children should be especially protected against violence. Child homicide has only been examined seriously in recent years with focus mainly on several major developed countries such as the USA, Canada, Australia and England and Wales. In Hong Kong (HK), child homicide has not been systematically investigated. This is the first exploratory description of child homicide incidents (inclusive of infants up to victims aged 17 years according to the HK laws), over the period 1989-1998, which draws from the HK Homicide Monitoring Database. A total of 52 variables about the victims, offenders and incident characteristics are described and several hypotheses concerning developmental variation in victimization, victim gender differences and offending gender differences are put forward. Of the 135 child homicide incidents identified in the database, 162 victims and 253 offenders are included. The average homicide rate is 1.10 per 100,000 population over the examination period and this ranks HK in the mid-range among other countries. The victimization age pattern mirrors the universal 'U-shape' pattern found in other research. Regardless of the gender, the risk of homicide peaks at both ends of childhood: in the first year of life and at ages 12 and older. This study shows that developmental changes through childhood are associated with variation in the risk of victimization but there are also circumstances where the victim's age offers little explanation (e.g. homicide in the course of another crime, parents' suicide attempt or mental illness). This study found a significant gender difference among victims but the traditional gender specific victimization pattern is challenged because risks during teenage remain similar, and girl's involvement in dangerous activities which lead to homicide victimization violates the traditional expectation that girls are more closely supervised. The absence of significant sex differences in infanticide also suggests that traditional Chinese assumed discrimination against females is not found to induce more female deaths. We found more male than female offenders in general. Most children are killed by biological parents (often mothers) and often due to 'money related argument' and 'abnormal mental status'. Significant gender and role differences are found among offenders and the role of financial and social adversity are noted. The HK findings are similar to most other countries' but a higher proportion of economic adversity amongst offenders and 'thrown from height' cases are observed. This study argues that child homicide is a distinct lethal form of violence. The 'developmental victimology' perspective provides a useful but limited explanation of child homicide cases in HK. Qualitative analysis of the cases suggests that a child's death may serve as a final solution to problems that arise because of the expectations around the gendered role of 'parenthood' especially in circumstance when resources are limited. In sum, the occurrence of c
Release date NZ
January 27th, 2017
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Country of Publication
United States
colour illustrations
Open Dissertation Press
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