Taiwan: Amended Regulations for Secret Investigations

Taiwan’s Ministry of Justice (“MOJ”) announced draft Amended Regulations for Secret Investigations (the “Regulation”) in early January of this year, and the Legislative Yuan has promulgated that these Regulations shall be effective from 15 June 2019.

The purpose of the amendments is to maintain the effectiveness and secrecy of investigation procedures, to protect the privacy and safety of defendants (to prevent criminal labels), victims, and other related persons, and to implement the principle of secrecy in investigations. Prosecutors will be required to weigh the public’s right to know against the principal of secrecy in investigations and seek a balance between these competing interests. No under-the-table investigations are is permitted under the amended Regulations.

Based on the foregoing purposes, the primary points of the amendments to these Regulations include (i) the establishment of a juridical spokesmen, (ii) clarification of the types of cases to be disclosed, (iii) clarification of the list of non-disclosure matters, (iv) the establishment of non-interview zones, and (v) the formation of evaluation and supervision groups.

To be more specific regarding the cases that may be disclosed, a prosecutor from MOJ, Guo Yu Fang, indicated that if erroneous information revealed by the press is substantially associated with national security or disasters, or if the public pays a high degree of attention to such erroneous information, prosecutors may disclose relevant videos, photos, forfeited guns and drugs, or other evidence after obtaining approval from their supervisors.