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Taiwan: Fingerprinting on Administrative and Criminal Case Forms Discontinued

(Sept. 28, 2009) As of August 1, 2009, Taiwan's National Police Agency (NPA) has cancelled the practice of requiring fingerprints on 53 types of traffic and administrative forms, in conformity with President Ma Ying-jeou's policy on human rights. Documents such as breath-test printouts and receipts for impoundment of motor vehicles now only require a signature.

On September 18, the application of the above measure was expanded. The NPA announced that as of October 1, fingerprints would also no longer be taken for criminal case forms, including depositions. This measure was taken in light of Grand Justice Ruling No. 603, which found unconstitutional the relevant provisions in the Household Registration Act requiring fingerprinting of applicants for issuance to them of a Republic of China identity card. (Interpretation No. 603 [in English translation], Justices of the Constitutional Court, Judicial Yuan, website, Sept. 28, 2005, available at

The police may still fingerprint and photograph suspects in detention or under arrest, however, as part of the procedures for the investigation of crimes and gathering and filing of evidence covered by Taiwan's Code of Criminal Procedure. (Hsing-shih su-sung fa [Code of Criminal Procedure] (of July 28, 1928, as last amended on July 8, 2009), LAWBANK, (last visited Sept. 24, 2009), see arts. 205-1 & 205-2; Amendment to Criminal Procedure Law, 6871 THE GAZETTE OF THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT 39-41 (July 8, 2009), available at & Amendment to Enforcement Law for Criminal Procedure Law, 6871 THE GAZETTE OF THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT 41-42 (July 8, 2009), available at

According to the NPA, of 34 criminal case forms being used, 4 require a signature; 18 a signature, seal, or fingerprints, and 12 a signature and seal. The requirements will in the future “be printed clearly on each form to inform the citizenry, marking a great step forward in the guarantee of human rights.” (Police End Fingerprinting on Criminal Case Forms, TAIWAN TODAY, Sept. 21, 2009, available at [attributed to CHINA TIMES, Sept. 19, 2009].)