2021/10/20  
Lax stalking laws give victims little recourse (2021/09/19)
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  • 英文 English 
    Lax stalking laws give victims little recourse (2021/09/19)

    Every year in Taiwan, about 8,000 reports of stalking and harassment are filed to police. But in most cases, victims get little help from the law. Under the Social Order Maintenance Act, victims must prove that they tried to dissuade their stalkers. And even if victims ARE able to prove their case, perpetrators can only be punished with a fine of up to NT$3,000. In the current legislative session, lawmakers will vote on a bill that creates prison terms for stalkers and spells out specifically what constitutes stalking. Proponents say the bill will confer real protections to victims, helping to put an end to their living nightmare. Our Sunday special report.

    Dabbing watercolors on the paper, Wang Chiao-chiao pours despair and fear into her artwork. Her living nightmare began in 2016, when she became the target of stalking and harassment.

    Wang Chiao-chiao
    Livestreamer
    He had a forged ID card when we were dating. In reality, he was already married. So I wanted to leave him. But then he kept sending me messages harassing me. He'd say, "Are you antagonizing me? Are you antagonizing me?" He'd send me the same message thousands and hundreds of times. Stalkers may also send you photos of your house's entrance, or of your street, and say "I've been waiting here but I don't see you."

    Wang's ex-boyfriend refused to let her call it quits, and he became a shadow that followed her around. After almost a year of this, he turned his attention to her friends and parents.

    Wang Chiao-chiao
    Livestreamer
    I actually threatened to call the police. But actually, I wouldn't have been able to report him, as there were no legal grounds for it.

    Ms. Chang is in a similar plight. She was stalked by her former landlord for 10 years.

    Ms. Chang
    Lingerie store shopkeeper
    He kept saying he liked me. I said, "Sorry sir, you have a wife and kids." I even told him that I was into women and not men. He didn't care. And so the intense harassment continued. I moved out, but in 2018, he ambushed me on my street.

    Ms. Chang relocated her shop twice and began carrying pepper spray, just in case. But her stalker refused to leave her alone, and the situation only got worse.

    Ms. Chang
    Lingerie store shopkeeper
    It was raining that evening. And there he came again. He came to my shop, yelling. I shouted at him to keep out. But he tried to force his way in. He was very aggressive, and I was furious. I said, "All right, just wait here, I'm going to call the police." He went, "Fine, go call them then."

    After Ms. Chang threatened to call the police, her former landlord went away, but only for a short while. When he returned, Ms. Chang rushed to pull down the metal shutters to her shop. Realizing what was happening, he became enraged.

    Ms. Chang
    Lingerie store shopkeeper
    Look. He took a metal hammer from his pocket, smashed the glass, and left. If I hadn't checked before going out, instead of hitting the glass, he'd have hit my head. He would've attacked me, absolutely. Now I dread rainy days, because it was raining on the day he shattered the glass. I feel a sense of danger when it rains.

    According to police data, every year there are more than 8,000 incidents of stalking and harassment in Taiwan. A survey by a women's association says one out of every eight female students has experienced some form of harassment.

    In July 1989, Hollywood star Rebecca Schaeffer was murdered by an obsessed fan who had been stalking her. Her death prompted the state of California to pass the world's first anti-stalking law.

    Chin Chi-fang
    Women in Digital Initiative
    That happened in 1989. And in 1990, the law was passed. Three years later, a lot of other states in the U.S. had followed suit. So laws like this started in the year 1990. In 1997, the U.K. also passed a law of its own.

    Wang Chiu-lan
    Modern Women's Foundation researcher
    Over in Japan, they got their first law in the year 2000. Perhaps you already know. A university student was murdered in Okegawa after being stalked. Only after that happened did Japan enact its anti-stalking law.

    Taiwan does not yet have a dedicated anti-stalking law. Stalking and harassment can only be prosecuted in accordance to the Social Order Maintenance Act.

    Lin Tzu-hsiang
    New Taipei Police Department
    The Social Order Maintenance Act uses the phrase, "stalking another person without justifiable reasons." But that sentence ends with, "despite having been dissuaded." So the bar is set quite high. We often get reports from people saying that they are being stalked. So we ask them, "Have you told them to stop following you?" If they haven't done that and we take the perpetrator to court for a summary trial, the judge would rule that the case doesn't violate the law. Violators are fined NT$3,000.

    With fines capped at NT$3,000, current laws do not provide a significant deterrent for stalkers. Ms. Chang, who was stalked for 10 years, says that after trying to sue her stalker via the Social Order Maintenance Act, she tried to do so using the Domestic Violence Prevention Act. That, too, went nowhere.

    Ms. Chang
    Lingerie store shopkeeper
    We were not related, and we weren't in a relationship. I was just his former tenant. So the police told me they couldn't do anything. They said that I was in a legal loophole, and they didn't have any grounds for taking him in.

    In 2014, the Modern Women's Foundation attempted to tie off this legal loophole, by drafting a bill for the Legislative Yuan. Progress on the bill stalled for years. But then, in April 2021, another death preceded by stalking and harassment shook Taiwan.

    The victim of the incident was Mrs. Tseng, a 29-year-old telecom worker in Pingtung, who had been married for just over one year. In February 2021, she was groped and harassed by a man surnamed Huang. In March, she filed a police report against him, saying that he was following her. But with no grounds for requesting a restraining order, the incident came to a tragic end in April, when Huang killed Mrs. Tseng.

    Chou Chun-mi
    Lawmaker
    Law enforcement did intervene. They tried got both parties to settle the issue. But the perpetrator persisted. There weren't any legal tools that police could use. The victim's husband was stricken with grief. He asked me when the bill against stalking and harassment would pass.

    The day of Mrs. Tseng's funeral on April 22, the Executive Yuan finalized its own draft bill to bolster anti-stalking protections. The draft was sent to the Legislative Yuan for review.

    The draft broadens the definition of stalking to eight kinds of behaviors. They include surveillance, inappropriate romantic pursuit, unwanted gift giving, and online harassment.

    If the draft is passed, violations would be punishable by up to three years in prison. If the perpetrator is also carrying a weapon, the maximum sentence would go up to five years. Depending on the circumstances, a court would be able to order the preemptive detention of a suspect.

    The draft was scheduled for review before the end of the legislative session in May. But the COVID pandemic threw a spanner in the works.

    Chou Chun-mi
    Lawmaker
    At the time, the epidemic was the top priority. We had no other option. That's why this bill was not passed in the last legislative session. Enacting something is better than enacting nothing. We should try to put at least some protections in place quickly, because that way, if there is a dangerous situation, we can get the police to intervene. In Japan, once law enforcement is involved, the behavior stops completely in more than 85% of cases.

    Lawmaker Chou Chun-mi says that the new anti-stalking bill may not provide comprehensive protections, but that revisions can come after it's passed. She says Taiwan can look to Japan as an example to follow. There, the first anti-stalking law was passed in the year 2000, and was expanded a few years later. Chou hopes the bill will be passed in the current legislative session, to help victims of stalking bring their nightmares to an end.
    中文 Chinese  
    退散吧!如影隨形的恐懼

    根據警政署的統計,台灣每年光是有報案的跟蹤騷擾案件,就大約有8千件,2014年婦女團體就曾經推動立法防制,但是這法案在立法院一躺就是6年,遲遲沒有進展。直到今年4月在屏東縣,發生了一起駭人聽聞的跟蹤擄人殺害案件,引起社會譁然,行政院終於火速通過了《跟蹤騷擾防制法》草案,明定8類違法行為。有了這樣的防制法,就真的能夠免於被騷擾的恐懼了嗎?帶您了解。

    一筆一筆勾勒出深深的絕望與恐懼,喬蕎畫的是自己的心境,抒發的是痛苦的遭遇。2016年開始,她不斷的遭到跟蹤或騷擾。

    [[網站實況主 喬蕎]]
    “他是偽造身分證跟我交往,但事實上,後來發現他已經結婚了,就想要離開他。可是他就會一直傳騷擾訊息,就是說:你要跟我交惡嗎?你要跟我交惡嗎?就像這樣的句子,然後重複一千遍、一百遍。他又會拍你家門口的照片,或者是你們家路口的照片,跟你說他在這裡,都沒有等到你。”

    不願放手的前男友,成為如影隨形的恐懼,糾纏了喬蕎近一年,連她的爸媽、親友都不放過。

    [[網站實況主 喬蕎]]
    “其實我威脅過他說我要報警,但是坦白說我沒辦法報警,我根本沒有法可以用。”

    跟喬蕎一樣無助的,還有這一名內衣店店長張小姐,她被前房東跟蹤騷擾長達10年。

    [[內衣店店長 張小姐]]
    “一直在表白說他很喜歡我,我說不好意思,先生,你有老婆、有小孩,甚至於我還故意跟他說,我是愛女生,不愛男生,他也完全不以為意,瘋狂的持續騷擾,我搬離開,他(民國)107年就跑到我家巷口埋伏。”

    張小姐連續搬了兩次店面,還隨身攜帶防狼噴霧器防身,沒想到對方不但趕不走,還變本加厲。

    [[內衣店店長 張小姐]]
    當天晚上下大雨,他莫名奇妙又跑來我店裡叫囂,我喊住他,叫他不要進來,他硬要進來,他很兇,我就氣死了,我說好你等著,我直接叫警察,他說好,你去叫。”

    聽到要報警,前房東先暫時離開,隔沒多久,他竟又返回店家前,張小姐氣得拉下鐵門,對方見狀,惱羞成怒。

    [[內衣店店長 張小姐]]
    “你看,從口袋裡拿鐵鎚出來,直接敲了就走了。今天要是我一時不察走出去,不好意思,打破的不是玻璃,一定是我的頭,因為他一定會對我人身攻擊。我現在對下雨天我很恐懼,因為他打破玻璃那天就是下雨天,我認為下雨天很危險。”

    根據警政署的資料,每年約有8千件的跟蹤騷擾案,婦女團體也曾統計,每8名女學生中,就有1位發生過相同經驗。

    1989年7月,美國好萊塢女星蕾貝卡・雪佛,遭到瘋狂粉絲殺害,促使美國加州制定全世界第一部的《反跟追》法案。

    [[數位女力聯盟常務理事 秦季芳]]
    “1989年發生這件事,1990年他們很快的立法,在3年內幾乎非常多的州就加入這個行列,所以1990年開始的立法,1997年英國也立了類似的法律。”

    [[現代婦女基金會研究員 王秋嵐]]
    “其實在日本也是,日本他2000年的法,其實可能大家也知道,一個桶川女大生的跟蹤殺人事件,他們才催生日本的《跟蹤騷擾規制法》。”

    反觀台灣,在沒有設立專法的情況下,一般民眾被跟蹤騷擾,警方大都使用《社會秩序維護法》查辦。

    [[新莊分局偵查隊長 林子翔]]
    “這個《社維法》要件裡面,無故跟追他人,後面要有一個「經勸阻不聽」,所以這個立法要件是很嚴謹的,所以我們常常遇到民眾來報案,說他被跟蹤,我們會反問他:你後續有沒有跟他說,叫他不要跟你?如果沒有的話,基本上我們如果把這個涉嫌人,移送到地方法院簡易庭裁罰的話,法官也會看這個構成要件不符合,也不會構成這一條的要件,這條要件基本是罰3千塊。”

    僅僅3千塊的罰鍰,對跟蹤行為人來說,經常達不到嚇阻效果。被騷擾10年的張姓女店長說,在她知道《社維法》不管用後,她便想依《家暴法》聲請保護令,不料也碰壁。

    [[內衣店店長 張小姐]]
    “我們沒有任何關係,我們也沒任何瓜葛,我只不過是他的前房客而已,所以警察說沒辦法,法律有這個漏洞,拿他一點輒也沒有。”

    2014年現代婦女基金會,率先注意到現行法規有所疏漏,因此開始研擬相關草案並推動立法,但這個法案遲未通過,直到2021年4月,發生這起駭人聽聞的社會案件。

    屏東這名新婚一年多,29歲的通訊行曾姓女店員,在2021年2月,就遭黃姓嫌犯撫摸騷擾,3月又被對方尾隨,被害人曾嚇得報案提告,卻因為無法聲請保護令,在4月釀成難以挽回的悲劇。

    [[立法委員 周春米]]
    “其實警察也有介入處理,把兩邊都找來協調,但是這個加害者他還是執迷不悟,法律上也沒有太強制的一個工具,可以讓警察去執法。(被害人)先生強忍住悲傷,當然也跟我提到說,《跟蹤騷擾法》什麼時候可以過。”

    就在曾姓被害人告別式的這一天,4月22日,法案改由行政院主導,火速通過《跟蹤騷擾防制法》草案,送交立法院審議。

    草案法條明定8項跟蹤騷擾行為態樣,像是監視觀察、不當追求、寄送物品、通訊騷擾等。

    一旦查證屬實,違反者可處3年以下有期徒刑,若嫌犯攜帶凶器則視為加重跟騷,可處5年以下有期徒刑,如果情節嚴重,法院還可對被告施以預防性羈押。

    原本朝野黨團力拼要在上一個立院會期,通過這個法案,無奈因疫情而延宕。

    [[立法委員 周春米]]
    “在當下可能防疫優先,所以就只能先忍痛,讓這個法案沒有辦法在上會期通過。不要說先求有再求好,至少有一部分先趕快起跑,到時候比較危險行為的時候,我們請警察出面,至少警察出面,按照日本的統計至少有85%,可以把這個行為完全弄掉。”

    周春米認為,新法案要能一步到位、面面俱到,並不容易。她舉例日本的《跟騷規制法》,也是2000年上路後,過幾年再修法,擴大保護對象。她希望能在這個會期,讓《跟騷法》三讀通過,不要再有下一個受害者。
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