In April, Lam Wing-kei (林榮基), a former manager of Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay Books, was attacked by several Taiwanese, who threw red paint at him in Taipei. In October, Aegis, a Hong Kong-supporting restaurant in Taipei’s Gongguan (公館) area was vandalized with feces.
The violence has extended to Tainan, with a Taiwanese throwing eggs at the Tainan Theological College and Seminary, where an anti-extradition exhibition was being held by Hong Kongers.
The suspect, surnamed Lee (李), said after being detained that he was under stress and in a bad mood, so after buying some eggs that night, he just decided to throw them at the seminary as he was passing by to vent his anger.
However, a look at a Google map shows that Lee could have “vented his anger” in many places near his East District (東區) home.
Although he said that he had originally planned to throw the eggs at a vacant plot in the West Central District (中西), he returned to the East District four hours later to throw eggs at the seminary’s library.
Few Tainan residents would find Lee’s account believable.
If we link the three incidents, they might not be so simple. Although police immediately detained the suspects in all three incidents, the legal penalties for “liquid attacks” with paint, feces or eggs is insignificant, and if convicted, sentences can be commuted to fines.
Even for the most serious incident, the attack on Lam, the Taipei District Court ruled in the first instance that the defendants’ punishments could be commuted to fines — as expected.
For those external forces hostile to this nation, the cost of inciting helpers to engage in this kind of activity is low, but such activities can be intimidating.
If a solution is not found, similar incidents might one day become daily routine.
Article 1 of the Anti-infiltration Act (反滲透法), which took effect on Jan. 15, states that the purpose of the law is to prevent infiltration and interference of external hostile forces, ensure national security and social stability, and maintain the Republic of China’s (ROC) sovereignty, freedom, democracy and constitutional order.
However, a review of the Judicial Yuan’s archives shows that no ruling involving the act has yet been made.
This shows that the act — which was condemned by former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) as “dreadful and hateful” — is just a “paper tiger” that has been shunted aside by the courts.
Therefore, its stated function of “preventing infiltration and interference of the external hostile forces” has yet to be given full play.
To resolve this clear and urgent threat, 17 lawmakers, including Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Kuo Kuo-wen (郭國文), have proposed a draft amendment to Article 6 of the act, which would impose heavy penalties on people who deliberately commit such minor offenses as the above-mentioned incidents.
This plan deserves our support, but seven months since the draft was proposed, it remains frozen in a legislative committee waiting for an initial review.
This is unfortunate. Surely the legislature’s Internal Administration Committee and the Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee should work harder to see the measure passed.
Lo Cheng-chung is director of Southern Taiwan University of Science and Technology’s Institute of Financial and Economic Law.
Translated by Eddy Chang
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