The Supreme Administrative Court rendered the 108-Pan-Zi-403 Decision of August 16, 2019 (hereinafter, the “Decision”), holding that since advertisements per se do not essentially cause environmental pollution, in case the person who sets up an illegal advertisement cannot be substantiated, if the competent authority for the advertisement elects to notify a telecommunications enterprise to stop the telecommunications service for the telephone number indicated in the advertisement, this practice is hardly appropriate under the law.
According to the facts underlying this Decision, it was found, during a patrol by an inspector dispatched by the environmental protection department of a certain city government, that property advertisement flyers containing the Appellee’s telephone number had been inserted below door plates. The inspector took pictures as evidence on the spot, called the telephone number indicated in the advertisement for verification the next day, and confirmed that the telephone number was used by the Appellee to communicate matters concerning the property sale. The Appellant requested the suspension of the telecommunications service for such telephone number for six months in accordance with Article 8, Paragraph 3 of the Telecommunications Law. Dissatisfied, the Appellee filed an administrative appeal and subsequently decided to bring an administrative action after the administrative appeal was rejected. The original disposition was later found illegal by a decision rendered by the Taipei High Administrative Court. The Appellant was dissatisfied and appealed.
It was pointed out in the Decision that according to the literal meaning of Article 8, Paragraph 3 of the Telecommunications Law as well as its legislative reasons, the competent authority for an advertisement is allowed, in case of necessity, to notify a telecommunications enterprise to stop telecommunications service for the telephone number indicated in the advertisement as a deterrence against illegal advertising only when the advertisement containing such telephone number has been illegally set up, posted or spray-painted to the extent that the illegal existence of such advertisement has seriously undermined the cityscape, the sanitation of the environment and the quality of life. An advertisement per se does not essentially cause environment pollution. In case the party subject to a disposition is the person who sets up the illegal advertisement, if the competent authority for the advertisement elects to notify a telecommunications enterprise to stop the telecommunications services for the telephone number set forth in the advertisement, such practice is hardly appropriate under the law.
It was further pointed out in this Decision whether the insertion of the Appellee’s advertisements at issue into letter boxes can be regarded as an act of environmental pollution, resulting in permitted suspension of telecommunications services for the telephone number set forth in the advertisement in accordance with Article 8, Paragraph 3 of the Telecommunications Law, should be considered based on whether the installation of the advertisement at issue undermines the sanitation of the environment and national health and whether the extent of environment pollution caused by the advertisements is identical or similar to that caused by the posting or spray-paining of the advertisement so as to meet the purposes of Article 27 of the Waste Disposal Law, which is the enabling law, and the gist of Judicial Interpretation No. 374. The original trial court held that since there was no positive evidence to prove that the advertisement at issue had been set up by the Appellee, the original disposition should be reversed on the ground of erroneous finding of facts and application of laws. Since the original decision was not erroneous, the appeal was rejected.