The legislature yesterday approved an amendment to the Household Registration Law (戶籍法) that adds an article introducing a maximum five-year jail sentence or a maximum fine of NT$500,000 (US$16,000) for individuals who are caught making or using false national identification cards.
At present under Article 212 of the Criminal Code (刑法), wrongdoers face a maximum of a one-year sentence or a fine of NT$300 for forging documents.
The amendment also adds a maximum jail time of three years or a NT$300,000 fine for anyone who allows others to assume their identity.
The amendment also deleted a requirement that obliged anyone who would like to claim his or her national identity card for the first time at the age of 14 to provide fingerprints.
The deletion came in line with a constitutional interpretation by the Council of Grand Justices that ruled the requirement unconstitutional.
After passage of the amendment, citizens will also be required to register their place of birth. Those who were born on airplanes or oceangoing liners would be seen as having been born where the airline or liner is registered.
Anyone who previously held household registration in Taiwan can reapply for registration three months after he or she has entered the nation with a Taiwanese passport. The same regulation applies to those who have obtained permission to regain their citizenship in Taiwan.
Meanwhile, household registration authorities will draw lots to decide whether newborns will take their paternal or maternal surnames in the event their parents fail to come to a consensus on the matter, the amended Household Registration Law showed.
The amendment was adopted in line with an amendment last year to the Civil Code (民法) that allowed parents to decide through agreement if their children should take their paternal or maternal surname.
The amended law stipulates that children born out of wedlock must take their maternal surname and that foundlings must take the surname of their guardians and be given a first name by the head of the household registration office where the birth is registered.
The legislature yesterday also passed an amendment to the Road Traffic Management and Punishment Law (道路交通管理處罰條例), allowing drivers who have had their licenses or plates revoked because of failure to pay off tickets between June 30, 1996, and June 30, 2006, to regain their licenses if they clear the fines within five years after the legislation was passed.
The amendment is expected to benefit those who lost their driver’s licenses as a result of unpaid fines prior to another amendment that took effect on July 1, 2006.
The amendment that came into effect in 2006 stipulated that the government could oblige drivers to pay off their tickets.
It canceled the regulation that allowed the government to revoke violators’ licenses or plates, but the 2006 amendment did not apply retroactively.
KMT Legislator Chen Ken-te (陳根德), one of the 36 legislators who proposed the bill, stressed the importance of amending the law, saying that some 200,000 people still did not benefit from the 2006 amendment.
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Yeh Yi-ching (葉宜津) said yesterday’s amendment could save those who had their licenses revoked and failed to pass driver’s license tests afterwards.
An amendment yesterday to the Statute Governing Public Welfare Lotteries (公益彩券發行條例) also passed yesterday.