People who cause damage to undersea cables resulting in death could face life in prison and a fine of up to NT$100 million (US$3.28 million) under a proposed amendment to the Telecommunications Management Act (電信管理法).
The National Communications Commission proposed the amendment after Chinese vessels allegedly broke two undersea cables linking Taiwan proper and Lienchiang County on Feb. 2 and Feb. 8, disrupting voice communications and Internet services.
The Chinese-language Matsu Daily reported that an international cable maintenance ship arrived on Friday last week and is scheduled to repair one of the damaged cables by this weekend if the weather permits.
Photo: Ting Yi, Taipei Times
While waiting for the undersea cables to be fixed, Chunghwa Telecom was asked by the commission to gradually increase the bandwidth of a microwave signaling system connecting Taipei and Lienchiang County’s Dongyin Island (東引) to maintain voice and Internet services on the island.
Calls to toughen punishments for those caught damaging sea cables increased after the incident.
Currently, people who damage submarine cable landing stations, signal exchange rooms and satellite communications centers, and subsequently place the public in danger, can be sentenced to three to 10 years in prison. There is no penalty for those who damage undersea cables.
Those whose negligence results in the damage of such infrastructure can be sentenced to up to six months in prison or fined up to NT$200,000.
Hsieh Pei-ying (謝佩穎), deputy director of the commission’s Department of Legal Affairs, said that the amendment would hold those who damage undersea cables accountable, adding that the commission consulted the Criminal Code (刑法) and National Security Act (國家安全法) to stipulate clearer and heavier penalties for different types of offenses.
The amendment to Article 72 of the Telecommunications Management Act stipulates that anyone who steals, destroys or uses other illegal means to damage submarine cable landing stations, computer rooms or the cables connected to them, international exchange rooms, or satellite communication centers faces a sentence of one to seven years in prison and a fine of up to NT$5 million.
Those committing the crime with the intention of endangering national security or social stability face a sentence of three to 10 years in prison and a fine of no more than NT$50 million, it says.
The penalties would be 0.5 times heavier if the damage leads to a major disaster, the commission said.
“If the offense leads to death, the sentence would be life imprisonment or fixed-term imprisonment of more than seven years, and a fine of no more than NT$100 million may be imposed,” the commission said. “If a serious personnel injury is caused, the person would be imprisoned for five to 12 years and may also be fined no more than NT$80 million.”
Anyone who negligently destroys, jeopardizes or uses other illegal means to disrupt the operations of the stated infrastructure faces a sentence of no more than six months in prison or a fine of less than NT$2 million.
The commission also proposed adding Article 75-1 to the act to punish those who breach the core information systems of submarine cable landing stations, computer rooms, international exchange rooms or satellite communication centers. They would face a sentence of one to seven years in prison and a fine of up to NT$5 million.
Those who hack core information systems would face the same penalties as those who damage cables or other key infrastructure if their offenses endanger national security or lead to deaths and injuries, the commission said.
The amendment must be approved by the Cabinet before it can be sent to the Legislative Yuan for deliberation, the commission said.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday said that a surge in respiratory illnesses in China has been caused by at least seven types of pathogens, and small children, elderly people and immunocompromised people should temporarily avoid unnecessary visits to China. The recent outbreak of respiratory illnesses in China is mainly in the north and among children, CDC Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞) said on Monday. Data released by the Chinese National Health Commission on Sunday showed that among children aged one to four, the main pathogens were influenza viruses and rhinoviruses, while among children aged five to 14, the main pathogens
A New Taipei City hotpot restaurant could be fined after a rat dropped from the ceiling and landed on a customer’s plate last week, the New Taipei City Department of Health said yesterday after conducting an inspection. A woman recently posted on the “I am a Banciao resident” (我是板橋人) social media group saying that she had been eating with a friend at Chien Tu Shabu Shabu Hotpot Restaurant’s Shuangshi B branch in Banciao District (板橋). “While still eating, a big rat suddenly dropped down from the ceiling, landing on a plate next to a hotpot,” she said. “Later on, a member of
A new poll of Taiwanese voters found the top opposition candidate for president jumping past the ruling party’s hopeful into the lead position ahead of January’s election — the latest twist in a drama-filled race. Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) presidential candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) had an approval rating of 31.9 percent versus 29.2 percent for the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) presidential candidate Vice President William Lai (賴清德), the poll released yesterday by the Taiwanese Public Opinion Foundation showed. The Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) presidential candidate, New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜), ranked third with 23.6 percent, according to the survey conducted
Actress Hu Ling (胡伶) on Saturday became the first Chinese movie star to walk the red carpet of the Golden Horse Awards since 2019, when China boycotted Taiwan’s biggest awards show over political tensions. Beijing banned its entertainers from joining the awards, dubbed the Chinese-language Oscars, after documentary director Fu Yu (傅榆) voiced support for Taiwan’s formal independence in an acceptance speech in 2018. There were no films from China in the 2019 nomination list and several Hong Kong movies dropped out that year, while several big commercial productions were conspicuously absent at both the 2020 and 2021 awards. However, Hu, nominated for