dissemination to the public via means of communication will be intensified (Taiwan)

The provisions of Articles 251, 285, 339 through 339-3, 341 through 344, 347 and 349 of the Criminal Code were amended by way of the President's Hua-Zong-One-Yi-10300093721 Directive of June 18, 2014, along with the addition of the provisions of Articles 339-4 and 334-1. The amendments came into effect on the day of their promulgation. The highlights of the amendments lie in adjusting the statutory degree of criminal penalties in multiple provisions. In addition, types of the offense of aggravated fraud are also added this time to address the continued emergence of new fraud schemes in practice. The amendments are highlighted as follows.

One of the amendments is to modify the offenses against agriculture, industry under Article 251 of the Criminal Code into three different types. First, the offenses of attempting to jack up trading prices, hoard relevant items and not to supply for sale in the market without justified reasons (Article 251, Paragraph 1) are regulated as an offense of hoarding relevant foodstuffs in order to prevent acts of hoarding and profiteering. In addition, the constituting criteria for Article 251 of the old Criminal Code are adjusted as obstruction of the sale or transportation of the items set forth in the preceding paragraph by violence or coercion (Article 251, Paragraph 2). It should also be noted that attempts are punishable in this paragraph (Article 251, Paragraph 4). The third type involves an offense of disrupting market trading prices as committed by disseminating false information to affect the trading prices set forth in Paragraph 1 (Article 251, Paragraph 3) with an aim to protecting the price formation of foodstuffs or agricultural products in the market against confusing false information.

The constituting criteria for the offense of defrauding fee collecting equipment under Article 339-1 of the Criminal Code, the offense of defrauding automatic payment equipment under Article 339-2, and the offense of altering computer data under Article 339-3 are not modified in the amendments, even though the maximum fines are increased for all of the offenses with additional penal provisions concerning attempts. Another highlight is the addition of the offense of fraud committed through fraudulent use of the name of a government agency or civil servant, fraud jointly committed by three or more perpetrators, or fraud committed through dissemination to the public via means of communication such as radio and television, electronic communications, the Internet or other media. The offender is subject to imprisonment of one to seven years and a fine of up to NT$1 million may be imposed (Article 339-4 of the Criminal Code as amended). To wit, types of offenses subject to intensified penalties are added to the new law to deter and reduce fraud cases.

In addition, the amendments also reduce the punishable age of the penal objects for offenses of quasi-fraud under Article 341 of the Criminal Code to 18. By reducing the punishable age, the scope of protection under this article is greatly improved. The amendments also clarify the essence of the usury offense under Article 344 by stipulating that usury includes handling fees, custodian fees, default penalties and other loan-related fees (Article 341, Paragraph 2 of the Criminal Code).