The Supreme Court rendered the 108-Tai-Shang-1084 Decision of April 10, 2019 (hereinafter, the “Decision”), holding that an actor’s knowledge of an illegal act is not limited to the exact knowledge of the penal provisions, and the mere knowledge that the act is not legally permitted will suffice.
According to the facts underlying this Decision, the Appellant engaged in waste disposal business without first applying to the competent authority for a permit for a publicly or privately operated waste disposal institution. As a result, he was prosecuted and was sentenced to one year and two months in prison with his proceeds from criminal activities confiscated by the first-instance and second-instance courts for his recidivist offense of illegal waste disposal in violation of Article 46, Subparagraph 4 of the Waste Disposal Law. Therefore, the Appellant asserted that since his educational level was not high, he did not know that a permit for a publicly or privately operated waste disposal institution is required in order to engage in waste disposal business and subjectively did not have the knowledge and willfulness to commit an offense of illegal disposal of general industrial wastes. Therefore, the Appellant filed this appeal.
According to this Decision, an actor’s knowledge of an illegal act is not limited to the exact knowledge of the penal provisions, and the mere knowledge that the act is not legally permitted will suffice. In addition, all citizens are obligated to know the laws promulgated by the government. Therefore, an actor is under an obligation similar to the obligation to exercise caution as a good administration under the Civil Code and thus cannot readily assert ignorance about the law.
It was further pointed out in this Decision that the Appellant confessed his crime during the first-instance and second-instance trials by indicating his awareness that the waste disposal business cannot be engaged on behalf of customers without applying to the competent authority or an agency entrusted by the central competent authority for a permit for a publicly or privately operated waste disposal institution, and that he had engaged in waste disposal acts without receiving a waste disposal permit in accordance with the Waste Disposal Law. The original decisions also explained that the Appellant had not lacked the knowledge of his legal violation since his confession was consistent with the facts. Therefore, the reasons of the appeal were not acceptable.