Lawmakers yesterday passed an amendment to Article 190-1 of the Criminal Code, which introduced a maximum prison term of seven years and fine of NT$15 million (US$500,200) for companies that pollute the environment.
Under the amendment, people who discard or emit matter that is detrimental to health into the air, soil or water to the point that it jeopardizes public safety faces a maximum prison term of five years and a potential fine of NT$10 million.
If any of the aforementioned actions causes death, the culprit would face a maximum prison term of 10 years, while those who cause others grievous bodily harm would face up to seven years.
Photo: Chu Pei-hsiung, Taipei Times
Owners, supervisors or employees of businesses that commit the aforementioned crimes would face a maximum prison term of seven years and a fine of up to NT$15 million.
People affiliated with a business whose pollution resulted in loss of life would face a jail term of seven years to life, whereas those that cause grievous bodily harm face a prison term of three to 10 years.
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Tuan Yi-kang (段宜康), who proposed the amendment, said that due to changes in the wording of the section governing businesses, any firm that pollutes the environment would face punishment, regardless of whether their offenses had been carried out “to the point that it jeopardizes public safety” — a stipulation that had stymied enforcement due to the red tape involved in proving guilt.
Lawmakers also approved amendments to the Political Donations Act (政治獻金法), which cap the sum of each donation to presidential candidates and their running mates at NT$25 million and that to mayoral candidates at NT$3 million.
Each donation to city or county councilor candidates must not exceed NT$500,000, or NT$300,000 to Aboriginal district office heads and NT$100,000 to township mayors or borough wardens, it stipulates.
People found in violation are to be fined twice the donated amount.
The amendments are to become effective once they are promulgated and could apply to the nine-in-one local elections in November.
The amount each candidate receives in campaign donations is to be uploaded online for public viewing six months after the deadline for declaring campaign funding.
In other developments, legislators also passed amendments to the Early Childhood Education and Care Act (幼兒教育及照顧法), which more clearly define rules on the establishment of non-profit kindergartens and introduced a fine of up to NT$500,000 for preschools that use corporal punishment.
Under the amendments, central government agencies, as well as municipal, county and city governments, township offices and Aboriginal district offices, may entrust certified non-profit foundations with the task of establishing non-profit kindergartens, while such foundations may also apply to establish non-profit kindergartens with local governments.
The act previously only permitted local governments to establish non-profit kindergartens.
The changes stipulate that preschool education should be carried out with equity across genders, races and cultures, and should prioritize children from financially disadvantaged households, ethnic minorities and mentally or physically disabled children.
Local governments should facilitate preschool education on outlying islands and in remote areas by collaborating with communities or Aboriginal settlements, it says, adding that the latter should help Aboriginal children learn their native languages, history and culture.
Preschool institutions that use corporal punishment would be fined between NT$60,000 and NT$500,000, and those whose owners or employees sexually harass children would be fined between NT$60,000 and NT$300,000, while those that have employees who are found to have used other inappropriate disciplinary measures would be fined between NT$6,000 and NT$30,000.
LONG-TERM ALLIANCE: Using the company’s virtual development tools would help reduce cost and spur innovation at the research institute, an official said The Taiwan Semiconductor Research Institute (TSRI) has partnered with Synopsys Taiwan to accelerate the development of next-generation semiconductors, with researchers being allowed to use the chip design company’s simulation tools, the National Applied Research Laboratories said yesterday. The institute is one of eight laboratories of the national research agency. The institute has signed a contract with Synopsys that allows researchers to use its simulation software — Sentaurus TCAD and Quantum ATK — free of charge, the agency said in a news release. The Synopsys Web site describes Sentaurus TCAD as an advanced 1D, 2D and 3D process simulator for developing and optimizing chip
MONITORED BY JETS: Chinese aircraft included Y-20 aerial refueling aircraft, suggesting that China refueled its short-range jets during flight The air force scrambled again yesterday to warn away 27 Chinese aircraft that entered its air defense identification zone (ADIZ), the Ministry of National Defense said, the latest increase in tensions across the sensitive Taiwan Strait. Taiwan has complained for a year or more of repeated missions by China’s air force near the nation, often in the southwestern part of its ADIZ, close to the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands (Dongsha Islands, 東沙群島). Over a four-day period beginning on Oct. 1, when China marked its national day, Taiwan said that nearly 150 Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) military aircraft entered its ADIZ, not territorial
DESTABILIZING: Beijing’s efforts to choke Taiwan, pressure its friends and hamper its democracy are a threat to the world, AIT Director Sandra Oudkirk said China’s provocative military activities near Taiwan are destabilizing and risk “miscalculation,” American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Director Sandra Oudkirk said yesterday, reiterating the US’ objection to any unilateral changes to the “status quo” in the Taiwan Strait. Oudkirk made the remarks in a speech at the annual conference of the Association of International Relations in Taipei. “In the Indo-Pacific region, America’s effort to resolve and manage differences with the leadership of the People’s Republic of [PRC] faces distinct challenges,” she said, referencing a range of actions by China that she said run counter to the shared values and interests of the
EXTRADITION POSSIBLE? The suspect, who is quarantining upon arrival in Xiamen, is accused of killing a coffee trader on a street near his house in Sindian District The suspect in an execution-style murder of a businessman in New Taipei City’s Sindian District (新店) has fled to China and officials are negotiating his extradition, the New Taipei City Police Department said on Tuesday. The suspect, surnamed Huang (黃), took a flight from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at 2pm on that day to Xiamen, where he is staying in a quarantine hotel, as required by Chinese COVID-19 regulations, the department said. Investigators accuse Huang of shooting dead a local coffee trader surnamed He (何) on a street near his residence when he was returning from dropping off his daughter at her