The Executive Yuan yesterday approved a draft bill to prevent stalking, which, if passed by the Legislative Yuan, would be the first of its kind in the nation.
The Cabinet expects the legislature to pass the draft legislation by May 28, the last day of the current legislative session, Executive Yuan spokesman Lo Ping-cheng (羅秉成) told a regular news briefing.
Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) has instructed the Executive Yuan to implement the law six months after its promulgation, and not in a year as originally planned, Lo said.
Local media reports said that Lo, who is also a minister without portfolio, was largely responsible for hammering out the bill after the murder earlier this month of a Pingtung woman — allegedly by her stalker — drew calls for action from lawmakers.
The draft bill includes stipulations for specific protective orders, in a departure from a proposal submitted by the National Police Agency in October last year, which critics said treated stalking as equivalent to harassment and did not provide an immediate remedy for at-risk victims.
According to the latest draft bill, stalking would be punishable by up to three years in prison, which is commutable to a maximum fine of NT$300,000 (US$10,700).
Stalking with a weapon is an aggravated offense punishable by up to five years in prison, which is commutable to a maximum fine of NT$500,000, it says.
The draft bill defines stalking as a range of unwanted behavior that has a sexual or sex-related motive, is persistent or repeated, and engender fear in victims that could disrupt their normal lives.
Stalking includes surveilling, observing and following the victim in person or via another, picketing domiciles, workplaces, schools and other places frequented by the victim, and repeating unwanted demands for an intimate relationship, the draft bill says.
Other acts of stalking include sending unwanted messages, images, recordings, goods or services via the Internet or other means; repeated use of discriminatory or hateful language or actions meant to intimidate, mock, threaten or denigrate the victim, among others, it stipulates.
After establishing the credibility of a complaint in a stalking allegation, police should issue a cease and desist warning to the accused stalker, which is valid for two years.
If the alleged perpetrator does not comply with the warning, the victim, police or prosecutor could file for a protective order in court.
Breaking an anti-stalking protective order is a separate offense punishable by three years in prison, which could be commuted to fine of NT$300,000.
Furthermore, prosecutors may ask a court to detain alleged stalkers if the evidence against them is strong and if there is reason to believe they might persist in stalking their victims.
Spouses, direct blood relatives, coinhabitants and close associates could be charged with stalking under the provisions of the draft bill.
Taiwan does not exclude the possibility of having formal diplomatic relations with countries that also have formal ties with China, regardless of Beijing’s stance, Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said on Sunday. There was speculation in 2012 that Honduras was attempting to have simultaneous diplomatic relations with Taiwan and China, an idea that then-minister of foreign affairs David Lin (林永樂) rejected. Honduras severed formal ties with Taiwan on Sunday morning after establishing diplomatic relations with Beijing. President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration has taken a more practical approach to relations with like-minded countries since assuming government in 2016. Previous administrations took the
Seven senior faculty members, including the principal, of a high school in Taichung were temporarily suspended from their jobs on Friday, pending an investigation by the Taichung Education Bureau into alleged bullying and abuse that led to the suicide of a student last month. The city’s education officials were too slow to suspend those involved, the student’s father told a news conference on Wednesday, at which Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chang Liao Wan-chien (張廖萬堅) and members of the Humanistic Education Foundation were also present. The boy had been a good student and a high achiever during elementary and junior-high, and had
Taiwan would have established formal relations with Argentina long ago if not for China’s interference, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexander Yui told US-based Spanish-language online news outlet Infobae in an interview published on Tuesday. Beijing has left behind a string of unfulfilled promises in Latin America, including pledges to build the Grand Nicaragua Canal and airports, docks, ports and industrial zones in El Salvador, he said. Meanwhile, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Mexico and other countries enjoy pragmatic and improving relations with Taiwan based on cooperation on the economy, culture, technology and science, he said. While Taiwan is “happy to live and let live,”
WASHED ASHORE: Of the 16 bodies discovered along Taiwan’s west coast this month, two were Vietnamese and five were Taiwanese, coast guard officials said Minister of Justice Tsai Ching-hsiang (蔡清祥) said that he has instructed prosecutors and maritime authorities to launch investigations after 16 bodies were found along Taiwan’s west coast this month, amid speculation that they were victims of smuggling or human trafficking rings. Coast Guard Administration (CGA) officials said the bodies, most of which had washed ashore, were found by coast guard personnel and local residents along the coastline from Keelung to Kaohsiung. Thirteen of the bodies are male and three are female, the CGA said, adding that items found on the bodies indicate that two of the men were Vietnamese, while three men