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Environmental Crime Legal Framework in Taiwan

Taiwan’s constitution contains provisions for the protection of the environment. For example, Article 10 reads:

“The State shall encourage the development of and investment in science and technology, facilitate industrial upgrading, promote modernization of agriculture and fishery, emphasize exploitation and utilization of water resources, and strengthen international economic cooperation.

Environmental and ecological protection shall be given equal consideration with economic and technological development.

The State shall assist and protect the survival and development of private small and medium-sized enterprises.

The State shall manage government-run financial organizations, in accordance with the principles of business administration. The management, personnel, proposed budgets, final budgets, and audits of the said organizations may be specified by law.”

Featured Legislation

1964: ​​Measures for Allocation of Oil for Taiwan Fishing Vessels were drafted. These Measures, consisting of 21 Articles, are specially formulated for the purpose of allocating oil to fishing vessels. All powered fishing vessels, sampans and rafts with fishery licenses may apply for the allocation of oil. The Measures provide for the oil distribution units, methods, standards and procedures of oil distribution, offences and penalties, etc.

1999: Management rules of irrigation in Taiwan Province were created. These Management Rules of Irrigation are enacted according to the Water Act. The Text consists of 51 Articles divided into 9 Chapters: General Provisions (I); Irrigation (II); Drainage (III); Reservoir Management (IV); Waterway Change (VI); Maintenance (VII); Prohibited Items and Penalties (VIII); Supplementary Provisions (IX)

1999: Regulations on the management of sea embankments in Taiwan were signed. These Regulations are enacted according to the Water Act. The Text consists of 45 Articles divided into 8 Chapters: General Provisions (I); Sea Embankment Area and Land Administration (II); Sea Embankment Construction (III); Sea Embankment Safety Inspection and Patrolling (IV); Flood Prevention and Emergency Rescue (V); Sea Embankment Area Use (VI); Rewards and Penalties (VII); Supplementary Provisions (VIII).

2000: The Land Law was passed, The Law consists of V Parts divided into 57 articles. Part I includes general provisions (A); the right of ownership (B); the use limitation of the ownership right (C); public land (D); adjustment of the ownership right (E). Part II concerns the cadastre, it includes general rules (A); cadastration (B); land registration (C); registration of ownership right amendment (D). Part III concerns the use of the land, it is divided into six chapters: general rules (A); the confinement of the use of the land (B); the use for house and foundation (C); rent of cultivation land (D); the use of abandoned land (E); re-delimitation of the land (F). Part IV regulates the tax, it includes general rules of land tax (A); the price of land (B); land tax (C); added tax (D); tax on land/building changement (E); deduction/exemption of land tax (F); tax arrears (G). Final part concerns expropriation; it includes general rules (A); procedures (B); and compensation (C).

2000: Implementation Measures of the Land Law of Taiwan were approved. The Measures are formulated in accordance with the 9th article of the Land Law of Tai Wan, are divided into V Parts: General Provisions (I); Cadastre (II); the Land–use Right (III); Land Tax (IV); and Expropriation (V). The Measures provide for the systematic surveying of the land, the criteria of the land tax and the procedures for the expropriation of the land.

2001:Measures for the Administration of Border Security at Berths for Taiwan Fishing Vessels were instituted. These Measures are enacted in accordance with relevant laws and regulations of the state, aiming at strengthening the administration of border security of berths for Taiwan fishing vessels, promoting the exchange of compatriots of both sides, and maintaining the security order of coastal areas and ports.

2016: The ​​Operational Code for Traceability Management of Aquatic Products Production in Taiwan was established. These Operational Code, consisting of 10 Sections, are enacted to strengthen the independent management responsibility of producers, expose producer information and promote local production and consumption. Traceable bar codes are applicable to aquatic products cultured or fished in Taiwan and aquatic products processed in Taiwan.

Featured Case Studies: Transnational Environmental Crime, Human Security, and Biosecurity

Both Taiwan and China have made strides to ensure protection of the environment, amending environmental protection laws to set stricter

  • Emissions standards and impose more legal liabilities on violators. Both governments are enforcing the law more aggressively. With new legislative changes, enterprises are encouraged to be more diligent in observing environmental protection laws and upholding the precautionary principle to decrease their operational risks. Key amendments to environmental protection laws made by Taiwan, for example, can lead to corporate compliance with environmental protection laws. Article 190-1 of the Criminal Code was amended on June 13, 2018. According to the amended article, a factory or business proprietor, supervisor, agent, employee or other personnel who intentionally or negligently throws, abandons, drains, releases or otherwise allows toxic substances or any other substances harmful to health to pollute the air, soil, or rivers or other bodies of water and thereby causes harm shall be sentenced to imprisonment for no more than seven years and may also be fined no more than NT$15 million. Under the amended article, a person does not have to be likely to cause injuries to the public to be considered a violator. Regardless of whether emitted pollutants can cause injuries to the public, the polluters can be subject to criminal investigation or be held criminally responsible. Moreover, the amended provisions set forth punishments for negligent violators. Persons causing environmental pollution for failing to perform the duty of reasonable care can no longer be exempted from criminal responsibilities on the grounds that they have no subjective intent to unlawfully pollute the environment. The provisions for punishment of negligent offenders under amended Article 190-1 of the Criminal Code are expected to effectively deter factory operators and other people in Taiwan from polluting the environment. It is the government’s hope that such measures will secure environmental security in Taiwan.

References and Further Reading