The Executive Yuan yesterday said it respects mahjong players’ right to associate as it criticized the Mahjong Promotion Party for misrepresenting the nations’ laws regarding the game.
The party yesterday held a founding event for the media and bought half-page advertisements in three news dailies seeking to promote the culture of mahjong and “decriminalize” playing the game.
Party founder Kuo Hsi (郭璽) and convener Chang Hua-te (張華特) urged mahjong players to become party members, adding that there are no membership fees and there would be no obligation to take part in party activities.
“We are founding a new party to overturn the tarnished image of mahjong,” the advertisements read.
Executive Yuan Spokesman Lo Ping-cheng (羅秉成) said that Taiwanese laws do not forbid the playing of mahjong, only gambling in public.
Article 266 of the Criminal Code states: “A person who gambles in a public place or a place open to the public shall be sentenced to a fine of not more than NT$50,000. The same shall apply to gambling via telecommunication equipment, electronic communication, the Internet or similar means.”
Article 268 states: “A person who intends to profit by furnishing a place to gamble or assembles people to gamble shall be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than three years; a fine of not more than NT$90,000 may also be imposed.”
Lo said that one must gamble to be considered in contravention of the above two acts.
Lo cited the defunct Chunghwa Mahjong Competitive Association as confirmation that mahjong is legal to play, saying that the association would otherwise not have been able to establish in 2002.
The association was ordered to disband after contravening Article 268 of the Criminal Code in 2018, Lo said.
Playing mahjong for entertainment does not contravene the law if gambling is not involved, Lo added.
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