Legislative Yuan Set to Improve Witness Protections

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Photo courtesy Brian Turner https://www.flickr.com/photos/60588258@N00/

The Legislative Yuan today approved revisions to the Organized Crime Prevention Act (組織犯罪防制條例), which will improve protections for witnesses, UDN reported.

The Ministry of Justice said that in order to encourage witnesses and victims to come forward, the provisions should resemble those in Taiwan’s Human Trafficking Prevention and Control Act (HTPCA, 仿照人口販運防制法). The ministry further noted that the laws should update provisions for video testimony and extend witness protection.

The use of third-party video testimony that separates the witness from those being prosecuted will now be admissible in organized crime cases as they are in those related to human trafficking under Article 25 of the HTPCA. The provision in Article 25 states:

The questioning, cross-examination or confrontation of a human trafficking victim during an investigation or trial may be conducted outside the court upon request or virtute officii or may be undertaken by using audiovisual telecommunications equipment or other appropriate methods to separate the victim from the defendant. Any human trafficking victim located outside the country may be questioned, cross-examined through audiovisual telecommunications equipment in an ROC embassy or representative office.

In a press release Friday evening, the Legislative Yuan said that more illegal activities would be covered under the Organized Crime Prevention Act as organized criminal activity is more diverse. The laws will cover more crimes as organized crime relies more on coercion, intimidation, and violence.

The act’s definition of organized crime has been re-defined as “A structured organization of continuity or profitability.”

Further specific laws targeting organized crime in Taiwan are expected in the future.

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