Colonial responses to youth crime in Hong Kong: Penal elitism, legitimacy and citizenship

Michael Adorjan, Wing Hong Chui

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


This article examines colonial responses to youth crime in Hong Kong, focusing on the 1960s, when riots involving large numbers of youth drew concern among officials over spillover from the Cultural Revolution in Mainland China; and on the 1970s, when the Government initiated a program of state building focused on instilling citizen identification with Hong Kong, youth in particular. Elite reaction is examined through a series of Legislative Council debates, declassified official reports and governmental Annual Reports. The article argues that youth crime control in Hong Kong's colonial context could best be understood using a penal elitist framework, one which remains influential today.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-177
Number of pages19
JournalTheoretical Criminology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Colonialism
  • Hong Kong
  • juvenile delinquency
  • moral regulation
  • penal elitism
  • youth crime

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


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