The Ministry of Justice yesterday confirmed that the controversial Act for the Control and Punish-ment of Banditry (懲治盜-穇屭?, better known as the "Bandit law," is soon to be abolished.
The decision was made at a special cross-ministerial meeting coordinated by the justice ministry yesterday.
Before abolishing the act, the ministry is to incorporate some elements of the law into other sections of the Criminal Code, according to officials at the ministry's department of prosecutorial affairs.
Before making the decision, the officials said, the ministry consulted the Judicial Yuan, the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of National Defense, among others, about abolishing the act.
The defense ministry had apparently emphasized the need to retain provisions of the act covering forcible occupation of military areas and stealing or destroying military assets.
Many legal experts have argued that the law, enacted in 1944 during the civil war in China, lapsed a long time ago.
They cite a sunset clause that requires an annual renewal to keep the law in effect.
Since then, the law has not been renewed on several occasions, with the first lapse taking place in 1945.
Human rights activists have also lobbied for the act's abolishment, pointing out that some of its provisions violate universal human rights.
Probably the most controversial aspect of the act is that many of the crimes punishable under it carry mandatory death sen-tences, and yet so much of the criteria for prosecution under the act is wide-ranging and vague.
The act jumped back into the public's consciousness recently with the execution of eight death row prisoners who were convicted under it. The executions, which took place on Oct. 7, included the notorious kidnapper, murderer and rapist Chen Chin-hsing (3窄i?).
The only ones left who have been charged under the act but not yet executed are the famous Hsichih Trio.
The three accused in the Hsichih Trio case -- which is believed to be seriously flawed by human rights groups because their convictions were obtained on the basis of confessions which the accused men said were extracted under torture -- were given mandatory death sentences under the act eight years ago.
However, Su Chien-ho (蘇建和), Liu Bin-lang (劉秉-|),and Chuang Lin-hsun (2曭L勳) have been spared to this day due to the justice minister's reluctance to sign their death warrant.
Execution under the act has been a thorny issue for the justice ministry.
In August, the Council of Grand Justices, Taiwan's constitutional review authority, rejected an appeal for a reinterpretation of the validity of the bandit law, referring disputes over its validity to the legislature.
Taiwanese tourists on board a Kinmen cruise ship had a scare yesterday when it was intercepted by Chinese coast guards who forcefully boarded the vessel to inspect it. The Sunrise, a tourism ferry that operates between Kinmen and Xiamen, China, was sailing around the waters around the islets of Dadan (大膽) and Erdan (二膽) — both of which are part of Kinmen County — yesterday afternoon when it encountered personnel from China’s Fujian Coast Guard Bureau. China Coast Guard personnel forced their way on board and conducted an inspection for about 30 minutes before leaving, local media cited the tourists as saying. The
SEEKING CALM: The US called for maintaining the ‘status quo,’ while the Ministry of National Defense said it would not bolster defenses in the area to avoid raising tensions Taiwanese should have greater faith in the government’s investigation into the capsizing of a Chinese vessel that resulted in the death of two Chinese fishers last week, the Coast Guard Administration (CGA) said yesterday, adding that Taiwan abides by the rule of law. On Wednesday last week, a Chinese speedboat was spotted trespassing in “prohibited” waters within 1.1 nautical miles (2km) of the east coast of Kinmen. It fled after refusing the coast guard’s request to board the vessel, setting off a chase that led to the boat capsizing, with two Chinese fishers dying. Two survivors were deported back to China
KINMEN: Coast guards on both sides of the Taiwan Strait should prohibit the entry of illegal vessels into ‘restricted’ waters to uphold maritime safety, Chen Chien-jen said Premier Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) yesterday called for both sides of the Taiwan Strait to approach the security of Kinmen and Xiamen waters with rationality and equitability, following a boat chase that resulted in the death of two Chinese fishers last week. Chen was responding to media inquiries ahead of a legislative session amid rising cross-strait tensions following the capsizing of a Chinese speedboat off the east coast of Kinmen on Wednesday last week during a pursuit by the Taiwanese coast guard. The Ministry of National Defense established the boundaries of “prohibited” and “restricted” waters around Kinmen in 1992 to better protect
COMMUNICATION: A US representative said that Starshield is inactive in and around Taiwan, which could put US military personnel at risk in the Western Pacific in a conflict Space Exploration Technologies Corp (SpaceX) might have contravened its Pentagon contract by not providing access to its satellite communication network Starshield in and around Taiwan, a letter from a US House of Representatives committee to the company said. In September last year, the US Department of Defense awarded SpaceX a one-year contract for Starshield access, worth US$100 million. A few months before that, the Pentagon also commissioned SpaceX’s Starlink satellite network to be used by Ukrainian forces amid Russia’s invasion. Starshield is a derivative of Starlink intended for military use. SpaceX has long worked closely with the US military and intelligence agencies, which