Draft Amendment to the “Organized Crime Prevention Act”

On 15 December 2022, the Executive Yuan passed draft amendments to the “Organized Crime Prevention Act” (the “Draft Amendment”) intended to prevent fraudulent recruitment of Taiwanese nationals for fake overseas jobs. Taiwan’s media recently reported on a number of such scams that ended up with the targeted Taiwanese nationals effectively kidnapped, forced to participate in fraudulent schemes, and even tortured in Cambodia.
Notably, the Draft Amendment introduces the offense of “recruiting others to join a criminal organization for the purpose of making others leave the territory of Taiwan to implement crime”. A person who commits such offense would be subject to imprisonment of not less than one year but not more than seven years, and a fine of not more than NTD 2,000,000 (about USD 65,000).
Under the current Organized Crime Prevention Act, a person who is convicted of recruiting others to join a criminal organization is subject to imprisonment of not less than six months but not more than five years, and a fine of not more than NTD 1,000,000 (about USD 32,500). The Draft Amendment aims at punishing criminal organizations more severely by increasing penalties for related offenses with an extra-territorial dimension.
In addition, the Draft Amendment stipulates that if a civil servant or an elected public official commits the act of recruiting others to join or finance a criminal organization, the penalty will be increased by one-half. The Draft Amendment also expands the scope of confiscation by introducing confiscation penalties on property of criminal organizations.
This amendment is in line with the amendments to the Civil Servant Election and Recall Act, which stipulates that those who have been convicted of crimes shall not be registered as candidates for public office.
The Ministry of Justice pointed out that after the revision of the law, those who recruit people to Cambodia and other countries to engage in telecommunications fraud, sexual exploitation, labor exploitation, and even organ removal will be severely punished. The Drafts Amendments are now pending in Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan where enactment into law is expected swiftly.
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