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6 posts • Page 1 of 1
We have all heard the stories of individuals being prosecuted here for profanity or comments arising in the course of a dispute or altercation well here is what the law says ...
Chapter 27 of the Criminal Code covers offenses against an individual’s reputation.
An individual who publicly insults another can, under Article 309 of the Code, face detention or a fine of not more than NT$9,000.
The offense of defamation, under Article 310 of the Code, occurs when an individual raises or circulates a fact that will harm the reputation of another and does so with the intent that the fact be communicated to the public. The offense is punishable by one year imprisonment, detention, or a fine of up to NT$15,000. The offense is punishable by two years’ imprisonment, detention, or a fine of up to NT$30,000 when the information has been circulated by way of written word or a drawing. It will be a valid defense to establish the truth of the information as fact unless that fact relates to the personal life of the victim and is not of public concern.
It will also be a valid defense under Article 311 of the Code if an individual who made the statement did so with good intent under the following circumstances:
i.) in the protection of a legal interest, self defense, or self-justification;
ii.) as a public official reporting in their official capacity;
iii.) as a fair comment on a matter open to public criticism; or
iv.) as a fair report on political proceedings, legal proceedings, or a public meeting.
An individual who publicly insults a deceased person can, under Article 312 of the Code, face detention or a fine of not more than NT$9,000. The offense of defamation committed against a deceased person can be punished by one year imprisonment, detention, or a fine of up to NT$30,000.
An individual who harms the credit of another by fraudulent actions or the circulation of rumors is deemed to have committed an offense under Article 313 of the Criminal Code. The offense is punishable by two years imprisonment, detention, or a fine of up to NT$30,000.
A supplemental civil action can be added onto the criminal complaint. And an individual may seek compensation under Articles 184 and 195 of the Civil Code against a party who unlawfully infringes that individual’s rights or infringes that individual’s privacy, reputation, or other legal interests. A successful plaintiff may be compensated for any damage resulting from the infringement, including non-pecuniary damages.
Now be nice.
In the past, there have been numerous cases brought within Taiwan against foreigners -- to the point where I requested and got a global overview of the abuses of these laws. In many countries, these laws are used as a way to shut people up, to stop journalists from writing, to stop opposition politicians from speaking up, etc. In Taiwan, the usual scenario seems to be that: 1) a foreigner and a local get into some sort of verbal dust-up; 2) the local, whether or not he/she understood what was said, will then go report the foreigner to the police.
One problem is that the "F" word is understood widely around the world to be something insulting. But then most local people don't know what to do about its use as an intensifier, such as: "this is f*cking good chicken!" or "it's f*cking not nice to honk your horn at my 9-months' pregnant wife just because she walks slow," and so on. And they don't know when it is part of a question: "What the f*ck are you doing to my scooter?!?" or "Are you sh*tting me?" And so things like that get reported to the police as well. I had a client who used the F-word as part of his/her critique of a contractor's performance -- the contractor claimed it was an insult, while the context was pretty clear that he/she was asking: "Why would you f*cking do" X, Y and Z crazy things in the performance of the contract.
Every so often, a situation will erupt where the so-called insult is so clearly made up. My favorite example of this was some university English dept head's claim that a foreign professor had said something along the lines of: "You are most barbaric Chinese!" Hmm...
In many cases, locals will make threats about prosecution under the "public insult" law for private statements not heard by any others, thus negating the "public" element for the offense. So, if you write a private letter or exchange a few words without any other listeners, keep in mind that some local Taiwanese will believe they can go to the police.
Here are some links to news stories and blogs reporting on these incidents (with many thanks for Michael Turton for tracking these sorts of issues):
I understand fully that this is NOT a place for complete legal advice, but I do have follow up question regarding defamation here in Taiwan.
My query focuses on this experience in Court:
During processes related to custody here in Taiwan, a Judge ordered a three-month 'investigation' to be done by a Guardian ad Litem, and that Guardian was input into the entire process to act as a liaison, to get to know both parties, to aid in communication, etc., and then to write a report for the Judge.
Instead of providing such a service, the Guardian ad Litem was completely negligent in her duties, doing absolutely nothing for three months to get to know both parties. Instead, all the three months entailed was a 30-minute initial meeting at the court to cover the expected logistics of the three months to follow. Otherwise, both parties were asked to write a letter about being a parent and how they each view their children and their relationship with them. And that is ALL that transpired until a week or so before the end of the three-month process. There was ABSOLUTELY no "getting to know you both". Just before the end of the three-month Guardian process, the Guardian visited the father's home to observe him and his two children (on a weekend he had his children)--and conducted a FIVE MINUTE observation ONLY. The Guardian then followed up with the father in the living room, sans kids, and explained how bad a father he was, how he didn't want to change, that he had no insights into being a parent. SUCH JUDGMENTS WERE MADE based on three months of NOTHING other than having read a letter and spent FIVE minutes with them.
The father asked the Court immediately to dismiss the Guardian, to reject her claims and her "work" (because she didn't do anything to get to know him), and he fully explained that the claims she made in his home were IMPOSSIBLE claims after reading ONE letter and doing a 5-minute observation.
Months later, the Guardian submitted a report that was completely falsified. It was full of egregiously false claims, absolute lies, complete fabrications. The allegations were absurd.
The father submitted to the Court an MP3 recording of the Guardian's entire visit to his home and all that was said for 1.5 hours (including the walk through the lobby, the elevator ride, etc., from start to finish)--and that recording and transcript COMPLETELY REFUTED the Guardian's false allegations and FAKE report.
Six months later, the Judge issued her verdict, with the father losing custody--and the verdict was based on the nonsensical report!
Thus, the father wants to file claims against the Guardian ad Litem for libel. Her FALSE STATEMENTS AND FABRICATED, UNSUBSTANTIATED CLAIMS were PROVEN TO BE LIES. HER REPORT HURT HIS CHANCES TO GET LEGAL RIGHTS OF HIS CHILDREN. HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH HIS CHILDREN WAS HURT, NEGATIVELY CHANGING THE BOND HE'LL HAVE with his children for until their adulthood (since they are so young and will only see him FOUR days a month).
Can the father file for libel and defamation using Articles 184 and 195, or Articles 310, 312, 313?
Where does "flipping the bird" fall under all this? I seem to recall a foreign bloke back in the Forumosa days getting sued for that.
Don't talk to me about naval tradition. It's nothing but rum, sodomy and the lash.
Sir Winston Churchill
Heathen filth, the lot of you.
Dr Kurt Langstrom
There's also this old gem, which warms my heart with sincere chuckles to this day!
That's fucken brilliant.
6 posts • Page 1 of 1
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