Bribery of public officials is prohibited in Taiwan under Articles 4, 5, 6, 11 of the Anti-Corruption Act and Articles 121, 122, 123, 131 of the Criminal Code. The provisions of the Criminal Code relating to anti-corruption and related defenses are comparable to those found in the Anti-Corruption Act. Bribing a public official to execute his official obligations, on the other hand, is not a crime under the Criminal Code. When both the Anti-Corruption Act and the Criminal Code apply, the former will take precedence because it is a specialized legislation.
Bribery can occur when public authorities receive bribes or when private individuals attempt to corrupt a public official.
Bribery is defined as “offering, promising, or providing a bribe or other unjust benefits to a public official in order for him to perform his official duties or to procure a breach of those responsibilities.” (The Anti-Corruption Act, Article 11)
The Taiwan Criminal Code defines “public official” as those who serve a state or local autonomous body with legal function and authority.
(a) For the Individuals Involved
Different punishments are established by the Anti-Corruption Act and the Criminal Code for public officials who receive bribes and for persons who bribe public authorities. The following are the penalties:
If a public official: (1) violates his official duties, he faces life imprisonment or a minimum of ten years in prison, as well as a fine of up to TWD 100 million; or (2) violates his official duties, he faces life imprisonment or a minimum of ten years in prison, as well as a fine of up to TWD 100 million. If performs official tasks – a minimum sentence of seven years in prison and/or a fine of up to TWD 60 million.
Individuals who corrupt a public official face either: (1) imprisonment for one to seven years and/or a fine of up to TWD 3 million; or (2) imprisonment for up to three years, confinement, and/or a fine of up to TWD 500,000.
(a) For the corporation/legal entity
There is no corporate offense against the legal entity under the Anti-Corruption Act or the Criminal Code.
The Political Donations Act governs contributions to political parties. Contributions to political parties are permitted in general if they do not exceed a specified amount each year:
Individual donors: TWD 300,000 per political party, with a total of TWD 600,000
TWD 3 million per political party and TWD 6 million in total for corporate donors
Hospitality accepted by a public official is only permitted under the strict conditions outlined in the Integrity and Ethics Guidelines for Public Officials (the “Guidelines”). The value of each present must not exceed TWD 500, according to the Guidelines. The value of each gift for certain important occasions, such as an engagement, wedding, promotion, retirement, and other defined occasions, cannot exceed TWD 3,000. In any given year, the total value of gifts received from the same source shall not exceed TWD 10,000.
Article 342 of the Taiwan Criminal Code and Article 171 paragraphs 1 and 2 of the Securities and Exchange Act regulate private bribery.
Private bribery is defined as “a person who handles the business of another with the intent to obtain an illegal profit for himself or for a third party or to hurt the interests of his principal by acting contrary to his duties and causing damage to the principal’s property or other interest.” (See Criminal Code Article 342 for further information.)
(a) For the people who are involved
If the loss is less than TWD 5 million, the penalty is up to five years in prison, confinement, and/or a fine of up to TWD 500,000.
Damages of TWD 5 million or more (applied to a public corporation director, supervisor, or officer) – imprisonment for three to ten years and/or a fine of TWD 10 million to TWD 200 million (Subparagraph 3, Paragraph 1, Article 171 of the Securities and Exchange Act)
Gaining TWD 100 million or more (applied to a director, supervisor, or officer of a public firm) – seven years in prison and/or a fine of TWD 25 million to TWD 500 million (applied to a director, supervisor, or officer of a public company) (Paragraph 2, Article 171 of the Securities and Exchange Act)
(a) For the corporation/legal entity
There are no corporate offenses in the Criminal Code or the Securities and Exchange Act.
Hospitality expenses are not subject to any quantitative or qualitative restrictions under the Criminal Code or the Securities and Exchange Act. The question of whether a hospitality expense qualifies as bribery must be decided on a case-by-case basis, taking into account all of the facts and circumstances.
According to the Guidelines on the Relationship between Doctors and Suppliers, the sponsorship that doctors accept for attending medical conferences hosted or sponsored by suppliers must be limited to the registration fee, travel fee, and meal fee, though they can accept an appropriate speech fee or hosting fee. Furthermore, doctors must not accept cash, vouchers, or securities equal to cash as a result of accepting hospitality, and doctors must not agree or indicate that they “shall” utilize specific medical items or move patients to specified locations as a result of taking hospitality.
Each hospital may have its own set of guidelines regarding the value of acceptable presents (e.g., TWD 2,000).
The Taiwan Anti-Corruption Act, paragraph 3, Article 11, regulates foreign public officials’ corruption.
“Offering, promising, or giving a bribe or other unjust benefits to a foreign public official to perform his official duties or to procure a breach of his official duties in relation to international trade, investment, or other business activities” is referred to as “corruption of foreign public officials.”
A public official (as defined in the Criminal Code) in a foreign country, the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong, or Macau is referred to as a “foreign public official.”
(a) In the case of the people involved
Individuals who bribe foreign public officials to: (1) violate his official obligations – imprisonment for one to seven years and/or a fine of up to TWD 3 million; or (2) perform official responsibilities – imprisonment for three years, confinement, and/or a fine of up to TWD 500,000.
(a) For the legal entity There is no provision in the Anti-Corruption Act for a corporate violation.
Hospitality expenses are not subject to any quantitative or qualitative restrictions under the Anti-Corruption Act. The question of whether a hospitality expense qualifies as bribery must be decided on a case-by-case basis, taking into account all of the facts and circumstances.