The government was reported to be drafting legal amendments to remove mandatory death penalty provisions from the Criminal Code. However, the death penalty remained as a discretionary punishment for murder, kidnapping leading to murder and other serious crimes. Three men were executed during the year and 17 sentenced to death. Migrant workers were reportedly subjected to violence while protesting against denial of their basic human rights.

Death penalty

Seventeen people were sentenced to death and three men were executed during 2005.

  • Wang Chung-hsing was executed in January. He had been convicted of causing the deaths by drowning of six Chinese women in the Taiwan Straits. The execution order was signed by then Minister of Justice Chen Ding-nan, who in 2000 had promised to take steps towards total abolition of the death penalty.
  • Two brothers, Lin Meng-kai and Lin Hsin-hung, were executed in December following convictions for murder.
  • The 11th retrial of three men known as the "Hsichih Trio" was pending at the end of 2005, as the procurator appealed to the Supreme Court against their acquittal.
  • In November a district court began hearing the sixth retrial of Hsu Tzu-Chiang, who had been convicted of kidnapping and murder and sentenced to death by the Supreme Court in April 2000.

Migrant workers

Large numbers of migrant workers continued to live in inhuman conditions in dormitories, with limited freedom of movement. Several protests were reported of migrant workers complaining about poor living conditions, lack of freedom of movement outside dormitories and payment below the official minimum wage.

  • In August, about 300 Thai nationals who had been hired by a company involved in the construction of Kaohsiung mass transit railway protested against their pay and working conditions. In the course of their protests they reportedly set fire to company property.
  • In August, at least four Filipino migrant labourers working at a chemical factory in Mailiao Yunlin County who were involved in a strike over deductions from salaries and other grievances were severely beaten by company security guards near Hsinchu. They were reportedly taken to the airport for deportation, and at least one was carried onto the plane semi-conscious and in need of medical attention. The four were accompanied by two more Filipino colleagues who were allegedly beaten by company security guards before their forcible deportation.


Significant laws addressing human rights were passed in January, including the Aboriginal Basic Law and the Sexual Harassment Prevention Act. A law addressing freedom of expression – The Organic Law of the National Communications Commission – was passed in October.

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