Fri, Dec 02, 2016 - Page 3 News List

DPP urges change to Criminal Code

NOT FAR ENOUGHA 20-year expiry on the statute of limitations in murder cases is too short, lawmakers said, adding that families live without justice while perpetrators are free

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

From left, Democratic Progressive Party legislators Tsai Yi-yu, Wang Ding-yu, Liu Shih-fang yesterday attend a news conference in Taipei on removing the statute of limitations on murder cases and major economic crimes.

Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times

Members of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus yesterday announced that they would push for a major amendment to the Criminal Code to remove the statute of limitations on murder cases and fugitives of major economic crimes, to close legal loopholes so victims and their families can have hope that justice will be done.

DPP legislators Wang Ding-yu (王定宇), Liu Shih-fang (劉世芳) and Tsai Yi-yu (蔡易餘) said they would introduce the bill in the coming legislative session.

“The judiciary should not close unsolved cases after 20 years, as the perpetrators are still at large and victims are denied justice. We have seen too many unsolved murder cases. Our society cannot accept this and we will strive to rectify such injustice,” Wang said yesterday at a news conference in Taipei.

The legislators’ endeavor came after calls for the judiciary to renew investigations into several high-profile cases which could be terminated by prosecutors as their 20-year statute of limitations runs out in weeks.

Wang and Liu cited the execution-style murder of eight people including then-Taoyuan County commissioner Liu Pang-yu (劉邦友) on Nov. 21, 1996, and the murder of Peng Wan-ru (彭婉如), director of the DPP Women’s Affairs Department, on Nov. 30, 1996, with both cases unsolved and the killers not identified.

The statute of limitations passed for Liu’s case last week, while Peng’s case is to expire tomorrow.

Although the legislature passed an amendment to the Criminal Code in 2005 to extend the limitation from 20 years to 30 years for serious crimes involving charges applicable for capital punishment, life term or a sentence of more than 10 years, Wang said that did not go far enough.

“The Liu Pang-yu case, in which eight people were killed, and Peng’s murder are just the tip of the iceberg. There are many other murder cases which do not involve well-known people and did not receive as much attention,” Wang said.

“However, the murderers are still at large, and they are still living and enjoying life somewhere. Justice is denied to families of the victims, and they continue to suffer and have difficulty going on with their ruined lives,” he added.

Legislators also want to close loopholes on fugitives, most of whom flee to live and work in China, for major economic crimes including fraud, illegal transfer of company assets and deception of investors.

The bill would also revoke the statute of limitations, specified in Article 80 of the Criminal Code, for white-collar crimes in which offenders have made more than NT$100 million (US$3.14 million) in illegal profits.

Revoking the time limitation on murder cases and major economic crimes would bring Taiwan’s justice system in line with that of the US, Japan and European countries, legislators said, adding that the move has received support from the New Power Party caucus and some Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers.

“The law is too lenient and the judiciary was negligent or mishandled some cases in allowing major financial criminals and convicted business tycoons such as Chen Yu-hao (陳由豪), Tseng Cheng-jen (曾正仁) and Ho Chih-hui (何智輝) to flee to China. They were able to live in comfort in China on their ill-gotten money, which was defrauded from thousands of individual investors. Many people are disgusted at such a travesty and perversion of the justice system,” Tsai said.

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