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Cabinet approves draft amendment to update Criminal Code

2018/03/08 17:25:13

Liu Pang-yu (劉邦友, left) and Peng Wan-ju (彭婉如)/CNA file photo

Taipei, March 8 (CNA) The Cabinet on Thursday approved a draft amendment to the Criminal Code, which is seeking to update the law and increase the penalties for a number of crimes.

One of the major proposals in the draft bill is to remove the current 30-year statute of limitations on homicide, which is punishable by death or a maximum prison sentence of life, according to the Ministry of Justice.

If that proposal becomes law, investigations will be able to continue indefinitely into at least two unsolved cases that occurred in 1996 -- a mass shooting at the home of former Taoyuan County Magistrate Liu Pang-yu (劉邦友) and the murder of prominent women's rights activist Peng Wan-ju (彭婉如).

The draft bill also seeks to increase the maximum penalty for assault from three years to five years in prison and places under that category the act of deliberately infecting someone with a venereal disease.

Another proposed amendment adds at least six months to the current maximum five-year prison sentence for maltreating a minor under the age of 16, impairing a minor's mental or physical health, or harming his or her development.

It also prescribes harsher punishments in cases where such actions are carried out to make a profit and result in the death of the minor.

In cases where someone causes the death of another due to negligence, stiffer penalties have also been proposed, raising the maximum prison sentence from current two years to five.

In the case of death due to negligence in the performance of occupational duties, the draft bill removes the current article that specifies neglect of the "degree of care required by such an occupation."

The draft bill also addresses the issue of fines, stipulating NT$100,000 (US$3,409) at the most for offenses that carry a maximum prison sentence of one year, NT$200,000 for those with a maximum sentence of two years, NT$300,000 for those with a maximum sentence of three years, and NT$500,000 for offenses that carry a maximum five-year sentence.

Following the Cabinet's approval, the draft amendment to the Criminal Code now has to be submitted to the Legislature for review.

(By Kuan-lin Liu, Hsiao Po-wen and Ku Chuan)