Taipei, The Cabinet approved a draft anti-stalking and harassment bill Thursday that seeks to criminalize a number of offenses with a maximum penalty of three years in jail and a NT$300,000 (US$10,223) fine for repeat offenders.
Premier Lai Ching-te (???) said during a Cabinet meeting that there have been a lot of cases of stalking and harassment in recent years that have led to serious harm in society, according to Cabinet spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung (???).
In order to protect the freedom and safety of the public, the bill, according to Lai, gives law enforcement agencies the authority to investigate and deal with such cases, while equipping the courts with the ability to file restraining and other compelling orders, Hsu noted.
The bill must now be submitted to the Legislature for review, and Lai has expressed hope that it can be passed soon.
Vice Interior Minister Hua Ching-chun (???) gave more details of the bill, saying that it defines the act of stalking or harassment as repeatedly monitoring or following someone, calling said person and not speaking, asking for dates, sending gifts, attempting to sabotage the other's reputation or using the other person's identity to buy things.
If a person feels troubled or fearful because of such actions, he or she can make a report to the police, Hua said.
Ma Cheng-hua (???), deputy commissioner of the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB), laid out the stages of the police work involved in such cases, which starts with an investigation.
If the reported person is found to be engaging in stalking and harassment, the police will ask him or her to stop.
If said individual does not listen, the police will issue a written warning and a fine of between NT$10,000 and NT$100,000.
Should these actions continue to take place within two years of the warning or the fine, a restraining order can be applied for.
Violation of the order will land the perpetrator in jail for a maximum of three years, with a fine of NT$300,000 or less.
CIB Division Head Lin Chih-cheng (???) said that the bill closes loopholes that currently exist in legal statutes, which focus more on preventing and combating domestic violence and sexual assault.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel