Caught Shoplifting


I am guessing that that would also be when you find out if there is a problem. Again, I don’t know if there is anything you can do about it so try not to worry too much.


You can always request a criminal record check from the police.


That’s the one. I hadn’t thought of that. The only disclaimer I’ll add is the OP should leave it a few weeks before requesting one as presumably it will take some time to go through the system.



I think if you committed a crime the report should stay in the criminal history record


6 posts were split to a new topic: from shoplifting


Ah, the ‘five-finger’ discount. Good luck. I hope she doesn’t prosecute, and this all goes away smoothly.


As I’m aware, but of course I’m no lawyer, the compensation is so that the prosecution doesnt need to deal with a trivial case and waste time, therefore no conviction on record. However I’ve heard that they keep it on record for a year to ensure you dont get charged with any crimes again and if no issues after a year it’s expunged.

I highly doubt they could take the money and then prosecute, what would be the point.


I think Dan2006 is right. I once hit a moped (luckily not going fast) when I was looking at gps (I was coming from a stop at a stop light and the moped cut in front of me). She wasn’t hurt and damage was light. Police came, we went to the station, and signed an agreement, and I paid for the moped damage (maybe 3000nt). I think in these cases police oversee a resolution and in 99% of cases it means no further action. Hope it’s all quiet going forward.


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

Update: the store manager called me and said she’s preparing the Official Settlement Contract and will call me when it’s ready because two parties must sign. I asked her if there’s gonna be a prosecution, she still says she doesn’t know and told me to ask the police after 2-3 months. I can’t imagine living in this misery for 2-3 months, I already feel suicidal, seriously thought of overdosing on my sleeping pills many times, and everytime the one thing that stops me is thinking of my mother who loves me and trusts me so much and would do anything for me. She would be so disappointed and heartbroken of my shoplift and I can’t even think what she’ll go through if I commit suicide…

I don’t even know how to concentrate on my school anymore, I am hopeless miserable confused. At least can you people please tell me where I can consult about this with an english speaking lawyer? Read in another thread of free consultings, can you please tell me where I can find those pro bono lawyers?

Thank you, Meia.


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.


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.)

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:


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:

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
    (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.)


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…