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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Cabinet amends punishments for servicemen who leak confidential data

ROC Central News Agency

04/29/2021 09:22 PM

Taipei, April 29 (CNA) The Cabinet approved a draft amendment Thursday to the Criminal Code of the Armed Forces that introduces punishments for serving members of the armed forces who divulge confidential information to a newly defined category of people.

Under the draft amendment the newly defined category includes "foreign governments and nationals, citizens of Mainland China, residents of Hong Kong and Macau and or any middlemen sent on their behalf."

The new category is intended to complement existing law, which identifies the country's enemies as "any country or organization that engages in or whose forces confront the Republic of China."

Under current law, leaking confidential information is punishable with a jail term of 3-10 years in peacetime and 7 years to life during war.

The new draft amendment stipulates that anyone who discloses or delivers materials of a secret nature relating to the defense of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to anyone in the new category faces 5-12 years in prison during peacetime and 10 years to life if the nation is at war.

However, individuals who disclose more confidential information may have the punishment increased to a maximum of 18 years.

The draft amendment also expands the definition of enemies from "any country or organization that engages in or whose forces confront the Republic of China" to any country, organization, or "political entity" that does so.

Furthermore, the current law states that leaking confidential information to the nation's enemies is punishable by life imprisonment or the death penalty. The draft amendment makes a distinction between peacetime and wartime, saying the offense is punishable by 10 years to life in times of peace, and life imprisonment or the death penalty in wartime.

Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said the proposed amendment, which still has to be reviewed by lawmakers, seeks to protect national defense related information and ensure it remains confidential.

(By Lee Hsin-Yin)


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