In the wake of the furor of telecommunications scams and the forced deportation of Taiwanese suspects from Kenya to China, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chiang Nai-shin (蔣乃辛) has proposed raising the penalty for telephone and Internet fraud.
The prevalence of such fraud is attributable to the light punishment facing those caught and convicted, Chiang said on Saturday.
He has proposed amending Article 339-4 of the Criminal Code to increase the penalty for those who use the Internet, electronic communications, radio, television or other media to defraud others.
Such offenses are currently punishable by a prison sentence of between one and seven years and a maximum fine of NT$1 million (US$30,914).
The bill, if passed by the legislature, would stipulate imprisonment ranging from three to 10 years and a fine ranging from NT$1 million to NT$10 million.
New Power Party Legislator Hung Tzu-yung (洪慈庸) also wants to see an amendment passed to Article 7 of the Criminal Code to remove a provision limiting the application of the law in the event that the offenses are committed outside the Republic of China (ROC).
At present, the Criminal Code only applies to offenses committed outside ROC territory if they are serious crimes punishable by at least three years in prison.
Taiwanese arrested overseas for cross-border telecommunications fraud cannot be charged under the Criminal Code if they are deported back to Taiwan, because the offense carries a prison sentence of only one to seven years, Hung said.
In many cases, those involved in cross-border scams were only given light sentences or acquitted, inviting criticism that Taiwan is a “heaven for fraudsters,” she said.
KMT Chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) on Saturday said that Taiwan must ensure any lawbreakers are penalized and stop being an “exporter of fraud rings,” which she said is very embarrassing.
Kenya recently handed over 45 Taiwanese arrested in the African country for telecommunications fraud against people in China to Beijing, which had insisted that the suspects be given to it to stand trial, reportedly because it was unhappy with Taiwan’s lenient treatment of fraud suspects.
China on Friday was reportedly preparing to take a group of 52 Taiwanese arrested in Malaysia last month over similar scams.
Twenty of the Taiwanese detained in Malaysia were finally repatriated to Taiwan, after Taiwanese authorities spent the entire day discussing the case with Malaysian and Chinese authorities.
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