Caught Shoplifting

You need real mental help, try visiting a clinical psychologist. Responding to a petty theft settlement with suicidal tendencies is not normal behavior. Of all the professional titles of psychologists, this one specifically deals with mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders. This isn’t a comment made in jest. You should try seeking real help.

You’ve already paid off the lady, been assured that you will not face deportation, and now you’re just filling in the official paperwork. Welcome to the adult world where people deal with their issues and every action has a consequence. If you cannot deal with your problems, that’s when you make an adult decision and seek help.

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I think there is no other way you confirm it. It may be the only way that asking the police after a certain length of period, as the lady said.

I’m not a lawyer not a psychologist, so it’s just my impression, but I also think a doctor at a mental health clinic or a pastor or father at a church if you are Christian can be more help than a lawyer.

You can consult a lawyer for free at the Legal Aid Foundation. Book an appointment and ask for an English speaking lawyer if necessary. (Don’t expect the English to be professional grade.)
www.laf.org.tw

You don’t need to prove your income and assets are low unless you’re applying for a lawyer to take on your case (if you go to court).

You can also consult a lawyer for free at Taipei City Hall during regular business hours (appointment necessary when they’re busy), but no English service is provided.

There are also mental health resources available, but I’m not familiar with them. Here’s a start:

This post is from 12 years ago, but you can try the numbers anyway:

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hey OP so I asked a Taiwanese friend about your situation and he said it was unlikely you would have any more trouble. this isn’t legal advice of any sort so don’t take this as gospel, but if the police wanted to book you (辦你), they would have done so at the time, but they didn’t want to waste their time and seemed like the store was fine. they aren’t going to go for you now on their own. where you kind of messed up is that the store should have written a contract with you saying they will delete the recording. as of now, if the store wants to pursue you, they actually can because they have the recording and never agreed to not pursuing it.

however, from what you say, it seems like the store isn’t going to bother doing anything more, and the police likely won’t either because they would have at the time. so in summary, you most likely will be fine, stop worrying! just consider it an expensive lesson.

Hi Meia. I am sorry that you are going through such an ordeal! Hopefully this information is still useful. I do not visit Forumosa frequently. Just received an e-mail notification re: this thread because someone quoted my prior post re: Taipei Mental Health Support Group. It is true that the group has been closed. However, I still provide individual services which you can consider. This is my website: Prestige Transformation

Without knowing where you are from, I’d also like to share that, in addition to being a psychotherapist, I hold a paralegal certificate from Duke University (U.S.A.). I can not say that I am knowledgeable at a professional level in Taiwanese laws, and I am certainly not capable to handle legal matters like a U.S./Taiwanese attorney, but I am at least capable to Google some information in Mandarin and English relating to your case and conceptualizing it, since I am a Taiwan native.

Bad news first. According to my research, theft is a prosecutive crime in Taiwan and can not be settled out of court. That means, the settlement agreement between you and the store can not save you from prosecution. Only a DA and a judge can decide whether or not this is an open case.

Now, some might think, “Why did I bother settling, if I would be prosecuted anyway!?”

It’s not so black and white.

First, the DA may even decide to not prosecute the case at all. It is possible when you and the store have settled, and the theft value is so small. The statutory of limitation is 20 years. However, I do not see any reason that a DA will let a petty theft case sit for 10 years and come back to it. They are too busy for that. And, coming back to such a petty crime after 10 years makes them look really bad.

The worst sentence to theft is up to 5 years of incarceration or $500 of fine (in addition to paying back the damages suffered). If the theft involves armed weapons, break-&-entry, conspiracy, opportunity over natural disaster, public transportation, or else, the sentence can be heavier.

In reality, if this case indeed proceeds to prosecution and trial, the judge is more than likely to just give you a tiny slap on the hand for such a petty act, especially with your remorse and sincere and voluntary remedy after the fact, especially when this is your first criminal offense (is it?). There is no reason to put you in jail for such a tiny crime and consume the tax dollars. Even if there is an incarceration sentence, you may be put on parole, unless you are on flight risk. I agree with the police officer that it is extremely unlikely for you to go to prison. If you can prove that your action was a direct result of mental disorders, you may have it even lighter. Again, I am not an attorney. The only thing against you may be that you are a foreigner, you do not speak Mandarin, and if there is any other fact that we do not yet know. I have seen others put in a disadvantage because they do not understand the system and do not speak the language. I agree with other replies that you should consult with an attorney or the Legal Aid for more reliable information.

Regarding your immigration status, it is best answered by an attorney or immigration officer. If your passport country has an embassy (or equivalent) in Taiwan, contact them. They probably have information and resources for you. If you are from the U.S., to my knowledge, A.I.T.'s job is to ensure that you receive a due process and does not have your human rights violated. I am not sure how other embassies define their roles for their citizens with legal issues in Taiwan.

From a civil law’s perspective, the settlement agreement can be valid, as long as it does not violate any existing law. Meaning, if the store agrees to accept the NT$7500 and then forever leave you alone, they will have to honor that. If they write “You will not be prosecuted as long as you pay,” it will be invalid.

It may be a good idea to have an attorney (or an experienced legal professional, which is not me) to review the agreement for you before you sign it, in case there is any crack that you can fall through. For example, is it in Taiwanese dollars or what currency? Will the store testify for you honestly, saying that you showed immediate remorse and voluntarily offered to give them double of the price of the stolen item? There may be other things that I haven’t thought of and are better covered. I am not sure if putting the testimony in writing in the settlement agreement is a good idea, because it may be evidence for tainted, bribed testimony even when it is honest. You do not want to be difficult with the store and burn your bridges, but you also need to look out for yourself. With your emotional state, I am concerned whether or not you can adequately protect yourself in the legal situation. Please use the help of a professional, and your embassy.

Another thing to consider about the settlement is that, Taiwan’s law does not allow any business to set up their own “penalty” to theft. You are only obligated to pay back her actual damages. Any threat such as “I will sue/prosecute/report you if you do not pay X amount of money (which is more than actual damages)” is ILLEGAL. The threat can be considered as a crime of intimidation for money (my unofficial translation). For any amount of money the store demands from you, they have to prove that your theft has actually caused them so much. Obviously, the value of the item. What else? Maybe their overtime work in dealing with the incident (proof, pls)? Someone got hurt, so the medical bills and lost wages? The store suffered additional economic loss due to the theft? Emotional suffering? Other damages? If you do not believe that they actually lost $7500… Well, it’s up to you.

Although you do not read Mandarin, I still want to provide a short and simple source of info to you, in Mandarin: http://news.ltn.com.tw/news/society/paper/212380

Of course, that is not the only source upon which I rely. There may be a chance that the info I’ve researched is outdated, so do not just take my words for it. Consult with an attorney (or legal aid)!

I am afraid that this is all I can say for now. Saying more, especially publicly, is not going to be appropriate for my profession(s).

Please hang in there. This may not be as bad as you may be projecting. I apologize that I have not had enough time to read through the entire thread so I might have missed some info. Anyway, wish you the best. Let me know if I may be of help. Take care. :crossed_fingers: :pray::love_you_gesture:

  • Lillian Chen
    https://www.prestigetransformation.com/
    (Only expected calls are answered. Use e-mail and messages for easier access. I probably won’t log in to Forumosa for a very long time, again.)
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In the Criminal Code, 1 “yuan” means 3 NT, so 500 yuan = $1500.

@zeroborders has experience defending against a theft charge, as explained in the following thread.

I haven’t heard the outcome yet.

Thank you all the kind people who cared to reply to my thread.

I still haven’t heard from the manager yet, she said she’ll call me in the next 7 working days for signing the settlement. She said we can sign it at the store or can be at the police office. I’m going to set at the police office and ask the police about all the possible problems that can occur after this. Hopefully the nice police guy will be there at that time and not the ones who laughed at me and made me want to die when I was apologizing. :frowning:

As days pass I’m more getting used to my miserable life full of worries now, quit my suicidal thoughts which I think is a good thing and working on ending this problem as soon as possible and get back to normal life again. I just want to tell people, don’t take anything for granted and don’t make bad decisions like mine. I used to think I had a shit life with depression and health problems before this happened. But now I’m dying to go back to that life, only now I realize I was happy back then now that my life turned to hell with nothing in it but endless worries and anxieties. Feels like everyone found out about this… When I walk in my classroom I feel like everyone staring at me with judgemental looks even though I know it’s all in my head I can’t even look at people’s faces now feeling ashamed of all these things.

I’ll stay updated and thank you again.

Hello everyone,

It’s been 5 days since the manager called and I haven’t heard from her since. She said I gotta sign the settlement but she’s not calling anymore. And this makes me paranoid all over again. :frowning:

PS: please don’t delete or close my thread until it’s over because I’ll stay updated. Thank you.

I thought you two signed it off after you paid her those 7500…

Yeah we signed one paper which was written by me, saying I am willing to settle to pay 7500. And I signed, she signed that she got those 7500. And then she said we gotta sign another (maybe meant formal/official) paper that will be issued by the store. She said she’ll reach me in the next 7 working days and but still quiet making me so nervous all over again…

To me it seems it is just over, stop worrying…

I never had a legal case here in Taiwan, but I spent 15 years in China.
I got several traffic accidents there, with me being totally innocent in some cases, to being the cause of all in others.
I mean I have been sitting on both side of the table.

In China (and I think the same procedures are going on here), the police station and its officers have a much bigger role in solving matters, and preventing them from going further into the legal system.

After the report, they try to mediate between parties, try to get both parties find a solution, then let both parties make the contract and sign.

Simply said, if parties agree (whatever the solution), the agreement is legally binding, and prevents any of the other parties to seek further legal action in a later stage.
Once signed, it is over!

In your case, you have signed the agreement in the police station, and you paid.
I do think the shop-owner wanted to keep pressure on you, but I can not see what kind of paper she should come up with after your agreement.

Now, as I said, I think your case is just over.
The shop has other things to deal with, the police will not take action for something like this, and you learned your lesson.

Now, take a deep breath, go out, look at the blue sky and start living again!

A post was split to a new topic: Are (Mainland) Chinese dispute resolution methods relevant to Taiwan?

Last time I got the call from the manager was on Monday, it’s Sunday now and I haven’t heard from her till now. As I remember, she said she’ll reach out in the next 7 working days and ALSO she asked for my personal ID number said it is necessary for the official settlement contract. I told her the number and I am worried now since I haven’t heard a word from her since. I am getting a feeling they might be cancelling the settlement and maybe going to the prosecution or something…

I don’t see the need for TWO settlement contracts. You have one document in which you agree to pay for some compensation, and that they one denounce you. That’s all what you and they need, unless the document doesn’t say any of those things, in which case they would be screwing you.

I wouldn’t worry about this.

Ok, first of all sorry for being such an annoying paranoid person. :frowning:

She said that other settlement contract was just a simple handwritten one and now the store has to issue an official one. Since she said it’ll take 7 days and now that those 7 days are over and she’s still quiet, I have to ask, should I reach them out by myself? Or should I just do nothing and wait?

I’d just let it go. If they’re not asking for it, I don’t see any reason to offer it.

Usual, working days don’t include Saturday and sunday.

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I know how you feel. I got into a car accident about 5 months ago and it was a nightmare dealing with the guy. Long story short, accident was my fault, but insurance and police report said it was his. He had to pay about 80% of my damages and he wasn’t happy about it. He didn’t stop bothering me for a good 2 weeks. I lost a lot of sleep.

I reached out to my friends to keep my mind off of things and focused on work. Just try to keep busy. Whenever you have some free time, think of something or somewhere to go. Eventually, I forgot about the situation.

Thank you for the replies people. I appreciate it so much.

I don’t know if I can say the first contract that I wrote was legally binding. All I wrote was what THEY TOLD ME TO write down in which

  1. I admitted that I stole from the store
  2. I said I am willing to pay 7500 for the settlement

On the bottom I signed, the store manager also signed noting that she received those 7500. There was no single word in the contract about them not taking any further actions or something… :frowning: I’m so scared they haven’t called me yet when they said they would (for the official paper). If assume the working days are Monday through Friday, tomorrow is going to be the last day. If they won’t call me tomorrow should I reach them out myself? Any advice?

I would leave it be. Calling up and asking would just be asking for more trouble.

As the old saying goes, no news is good news.

I totally understand you want some kind of official closure in written or verbal form. However, it doesn’t seem like the store owner really wants to move forward, otherwise, they would’ve contacted you much much earlier.

I know it’s hard, but try to get your mind off of things. Being in the company of friends is usually very helpful. Just don’t be afraid to ask or even share your story with them (if you haven’t).

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