Sat, Jun 04, 2011 - Page 1 News List

Bill approved to clear agents who confess crimes

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff Reporter

The legislature yesterday approved an amendment to the National Intelligence Services Act (國家情報工作法) which will allow intelligence officials to be given immunity or have their sentences commuted if they voluntarily confess to crimes and provide information about espionage within the country.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lin Yu-fang (林郁方), who initiated the proposal, said that the newly introduced articles would encourage intelligence officials to start afresh and enhance the government’s ability to conduct counterespionage activities.

The act was amended against the backdrop of the case of -Major-General Lo Hsien-che (羅賢哲), a former head of communications and electronic information at Army Command Headquarters who has been indicted on suspicion of providing military secrets to China.

The amendment will entitle the National Security Bureau to demand information about espionage suspects and beneficiaries of suspected espionage activities, as well as from other government agencies with permission from the bureau chief for the purpose of carrying out counterespionage work.

The legislature also passed the third reading of the Financial Consumer Protection Act (金融消費者保護法) to establish a mechanism under the Financial Supervisory Commission to settle disputes between financial services clients and financial institutions.

Financial institutions subject to the law include banks, securities firms, futures and insurance companies, as well as firms that issue electronic stored value cards.

According to the amended law, clients could turn to the mechanism to arbitrate disputes within 60 days from the date a financial institution failed to resolve a case.

Institutions involved in disputes are required to present sufficient information, while the arbitration result would carry the same weight as a court ruling.

Clients are allowed to take legal action to fight a case if they are not satisfied with the arbitration, but financial institutions are obliged to accept the result if they had signed an agreement with the client for the case to be solved via arbitration, the act says.

The act was enacted in response to the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc in September 2008, resulting in many retail investors losing money from -capital-guaranteed structures.

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