Cabinet approves law revisions to deter telecom fraud

The Executive Yuan passed amendments to the Organized Crime Prevention Act Thursday, under which telecommunications fraud is defined as a type of organized crime, paving the way for telecom fraud criminals to receive heavier penalties.

According to the existing Act, the term "criminal organization" is defined as an enterprise involved in racketeering, and consists of an internal management system of three or more persons sharing a common purpose of committing criminal activities or inciting its members to commit criminal activities, and is collective, habitual, forcible or violent in nature.

The amended articles stipulate that companies owned by the members of organized crime groups involving criminal profiteering through threats, use of force, or other forms of coercion, will be subject to a maximum of five years' imprisonment.

The Ministry of Justice said that the draft is aimed at curbing rampant fraud involving the use of telecom technology and communication networks in recent years and is in line with the regulations set forth in the Criminal Code.

According to the code, people involved in aggravated fraud cases are subject to imprisonment of a minimum of one year and a maximum of seven years, and a fine of less than NT$1 million (US$32,000).

Under the draft amendments of the Organized Crime Prevention Act, leaders convicted of telecom fraud could face harsher punishment of 3-10 years in prison and a fine of less than NT$100 million, while those involved in telecom fraud could be subject to imprisonment ranging from six months to 10 years and a fine of less than NT$10 million.

According to the draft amendments, those involved in recruiting others to join organized crime groups can face punishment of six months to five years in prison and a fine of less than NT$10 million, while those involved in recruitment by means of threats, use of force, or other forms of coercion, could face jail time ranging from one to seven years.

Adults involved in the recruitment of people under the age of 18 can face stricter punishment and a fine of less than NT$20 million, according to the draft.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel