Taipei, Dec. 1 (CNA) A newly-passed law which increases the punishments for stalking and harassment was signed into law by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Wednesday and will take effect in six months.
President Tsai promulgated the Stalking and Harassment Prevention Act during a press conference, witnessed by Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), Minister of the Interior Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇), and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘), Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) and Fan Yun (范雲).
Tsai touted bipartisan support for the passage of the act, which is expected to provide victims of stalking and harassment with better protections.
"The act is an important first step toward the prevention of gender-based violence," Tsai said.
Tsai also mentioned Peng Wan-ru (彭婉如), former director of the DPP's Women's Affairs Department and an active feminist advocate who was murdered 25 years ago. The day before the promulgation was the 25th anniversary of her death. The case remains unsolved.
Peng's death increased awareness of the need to protect women and gave impetus to related legislation. "We believe we will do more and better along the way," Tsai said.
The act, which was passed by the Legislative Yuan on Nov. 19, 2021, defines stalking and harassment as continuous or repeated actions that are related to sex or gender and frightens the victim and have a negative impact on their daily lives.
The new law lists eight types of behavior as constituting stalking and harassment, including spying on and trailing, following and approaching, threatening and insulting and harassment over the internet.
It also covers pursuing a relationship in an inappropriate manner, sending messages, delivering video clips or other objects by mail to another person, tarnishing someone's reputation or using their identity to buy goods.
Individuals found guilty of any of the eight actions face up to one year in prison and/or a maximum fine of NT$100,000 (US$3,593).
Those found guilty of engaging in stalking or harassment while carrying a dangerous weapon can be sentenced to a maximum of five-years in prison and/or a fine of up to NT$500,000.