DPP Legislator Lai Jui-lung (賴瑞隆) on Friday proposed an amendment to increase fines for the removal of rocks or soil from national land, after Chinese vessels were last year found removing sand from the nation’s beaches.
Under the Act on the Exclusive Economic Zone and the Continental Shelf of the Republic of China (中華民國專屬經濟海域及大陸礁層法), those extracting rocks or soil from national land without permission can be fined up to NT$50 million (US$1.66 million) and jailed for up to five years.
However, the amendment would stipulate a prison sentence of one to seven years, in addition to a fine of NT$5 million to NT$50 million, Lai said.
Photo courtesy of the Penghu County coast guard
Under the proposed amendment, those found surveying, exploiting, managing or maintaining resources on national land without permission would be fined NT$1 million to NT$5 million, he said.
The Coast Guard Administration in October last year detained the crew of two Chinese vessels off the coast of Penghu County, and sentenced each of the captains and 26 crew members to five or six months in prison, but this has not deterred Chinese vessels from stealing sand in the county, Lai said.
As of May 13, the coast guard has driven 1,231 Chinese vessels away from Taiwan’s waters, he said.
“This type of theft of our sand is greatly harmful to our marine ecology, our fisheries resources and our national security,” he said.
Current laws are too lenient to be a deterrent, he said, adding that stricter laws are needed.
Separately, DPP Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) also proposed an amendment to the act, which laid out similar prison sentences, but would increase fines to up to NT$100 million.
Echoing Lai’s statement, Kuan said the amendment was necessary to protect the nation’s marine ecology and resources from intentional destruction caused by the removal of sand, rocks and soil.
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