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Justice ministry toughening law against drug possession

2017/10/19 17:56:40

Justice Minister Chiu Tai-san (邱太三)/CNA file photo

Taipei, Oct. 19 (CNA) The Ministry of Justice has drafted a law amendment that would widen the net in the conviction of people accused of illegal drug possession, Justice Minister Chiu Tai-san (邱太三) said Thursday.

At a legislative hearing, Chiu said the draft amendment to the Narcotics Endangerment Prevention Act changes the definition of illegal drugs in two categories.

He said Article 11 of the existing Act, which lays out the penalties for possession of Category 1 or 2 drugs, has been revised to redefine the illegal substances as "narcotics" rather than "pure narcotics."

In addition, the threshold will be lowered for the amount of Category 3 and 4 drugs that could lead to a conviction, Chiu said.

The existing law allows prosecution for possession of more than 20 grams of Category 3 or 4 narcotics, and a fine only for amounts of less than 20 grams, but the draft bill seeks to lower the threshold for prosecution to 5 grams, according to Chiu.

Regarding Category 1 and 2 drugs, the current penalty for possession ranges from six months to seven years in prison and a fine of between NT$700,000 (US$23,660) and NT$1 million.

The Cabinet has allocated NT$177.73 million from a government reserve fund to purchase drug testing equipment and employ trained staff for such work, as part of the country's efforts to more efficiently test new types of narcotics, according to Chang Tou-hui (張斗輝), deputy minister of Justice.

(By Liu Shih-i and Evelyn Kao)