Taiwan: Talking to police, Right to remain silence, Lawyering up

I refused to speak to a police officer who said that old foreigners carry the poison. I hadn’t been charged with anything, though. I just disliked him.


Taiwan has a right to silence. Americans often call this ‘fifth amendment rights’.

Code of Criminal Procedure Article 95

This heavily applies to Taiwan:

There is no situation where talking to the police will help you.


Everyone should watch that video, in Full. It’s excellent.


That right seems to apply to “the accused”. What if you are not accused of anything yet? Can you decide to “not communicate” with the police, except to state your name or address? That sounds like obstructing an officer in the execution of his duty.

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You should watch the video.

If a police officer wants to talk to me, I call my lawyer first before opening my mouth.

I am fully convinced that the only member of the Springfield Mafiosi without a criminal record is Johnny Tightlips.


If you open your mouth, you open yourself to becoming an accused/suspect. Even if you are not the perpetrator.

I only act on a lawyer’s advice.

If I am being detained, we’ll get the facts straight in court.

Police are human. Some are bloodsucking leeches on society. Others simply make mistakes.

They will go home to their nice comfy bed regardless of whether or not they put an innocent person in prison or give a guilty person a disproportionate punishment. They will sleep in that nice comfy bed no matter the harm they intentionally or unintentionally do.

At the most, you may be obligated to identify yourself. I wouldn’t even do that immediately until my lawyer green lights that action.

Your speech will open you up to a world of hurt. If they need the facts, they’re going to have to drag me to court. Otherwise, I ain’t sayin nothin.


Thanks Marco, and of course in general I agree with your advice. I just wonder about the practicality in Taiwan.

Might your lawyer acquaintance function as an on-call lawyer for such circumstances at an affordable rate, do you know?

This is the most practical thing you can do. Keep silent. There could be a building burning behind me and I will still keep my mouth shut.

I’m sorry officer. I don’t have any information.

Because we’re people. As people, we are smart in our own talents and dumb in many other areas. I’m dumb. We’re all dumb in one field or another. I’m not the smartest person in the world and can expert in everything. I’m not a lawyer. I’m not a musician. I know nothing about music beyond I like this song or I don’t like this song. I also know relatively little about the complicated book we call the law. Even governments have lost track. The police haven’t even passed the bar. There are an infinite number of legal possibilities with each interaction with the police when they do an investigation. We can’t prepare ourselves for that high of a number. So we have that right to silence to accommodate for the mistakes, oversights and other limitations of the human experience. So that we can be as fair as possible. Even if you’re not even a person of interest, because we’re dumb, we might say something that accidentally incriminates ourselves and put us through a world of hurt for no reason. Fact finding is the government’s job.

Mr Police Officer, if you have reason to believe I did something, prove it.

Yeah he is also a criminal defence attorney. He is not a shark. I don’t financially benefit. He sometimes might throw in a few answers for free depending.

I plaster the card up and down for a reason. It’s for the benefit of us and to help us navigate this new country.

I’ve never gotten to the point where the cops had to talk to me. So I don’t know what the rates are.

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How fun, it is, to have both these sentences be absolutely 100% correct at exactly the same time


this makes me sad. not because you said it, but because it is normally true. Taiwan is pretty well versed in shutting the fuck up, on paper. they still gossip all around town. but it is disheartening.

I find it so frustrating that so few speak up out of fear of getting fucked. the sad part is there is legitimate concern for doing the ostrich treatment. one of those things I am absolutely infuriatingly against, and yet I see the logic behind why and cant argue it. All I can say is its bullshit. from all angles :frowning: but true… :cold_sweat:

This is not a Taiwan thing. This is a fairness thing throughout all democracies.

The video I posted is about the US. This has nothing to do with Taiwan’s competence and should not be taken as such. This is a human thing. We’re not omnipotent. The right to silence is in democracies because we’re not perfect.

If you’re going to pin this on Taiwan’s alleged incompetence/culture/culture of fear, then I strongly suggest unliking my post because that was not the point of my post.

This is not a sad thing. This is a fairness thing in democracies. It’s a happy thing that we recognise our limitations in democracies.

China does not have a right to silence and expects you to speak and considers silence as a suspect behaviour. The Communist Party acts as if they are omnipotent.

They are not.

You are seemingly misreading my post. The fact that people see an incident and prefer to remain silent than help is what makes me sad. I stand firm that that is a sad sort of affairs for any community, though we are discussing Taiwan currently.

I understand it is a common thing, but that is sad. because we shouldn’t be afraid of lawsuits or revenge from helping in a situation. People that are too afraid to help out of said fears…well…I get it. I just find it a failure of society. I assume you thought I was referring to something else you wrote? I didn’t watch your video link.


Look. This is what you wrote.

This is very very very far from my point and I do not want to be associated with that opinion. My post has nothing to do with Taiwan’s incompetence. You don’t talk to the police in ANY democracy!

This has nothing to do with a ‘fear’ of standing up. It is the police’s job to enforce the law. Anything you say can be used against you in court. That is the justice department’s job, is to deliver justice as fairly as possible and defend the interests of the country.

You have a right to be free from self-incrimination. Because we’re human and we make mistakes, we might say the wrong thing. I highly suggest watching the video because I fear that you have mistaken my post. This has nothing to do with a ‘fear of lawsuits’. People make mistakes, they may say to the police one thing one day and then accidentally change the story later raising questions with prosecution. Memories are unreliable. As an example. You want to talk? Talk to a lawyer. Tell the lawyer you didn’t do it. The prosecutor is the police’s representation, the lawyer is yours. The police and prosecutor’s interests are defending the nation’s interest. Your lawyer defends your interest.

That’s a really, unbelievably, disproportionately important part of the post. But if your hearting of my post comes from an understanding that I am somehow suggesting that we need to keep quiet because Taiwan is somehow incompetent at protecting people’s rights, then I still strongly request my post be dehearted/unliked. I am not making such a request lightly.

The police don’t know you. The prosecutors don’t know you. None of them have crystal balls. This is the human experience. Not Taiwan’s incompetence at protecting rights or some imaginary culture of fear of speaking. Not it’s culture or behaviour. The right to silence is a foundation of our democracy.

Very huge misunderstanding of my post. If you stand by that belief that this is somehow a critique on Taiwan’s competence in particular, then I still request an unliking/dehearting of my post. I do not want people to think that this was my point.

I am going to tap out, you are misreading or thinking too much. I was agreeing with you. and simply mentioning it makes me sad that society feels they cant talk to the police.

I fully agree with your points. on basically all fronts. hence my like. My point is that this reflects poorly on society (Any society!). I am not saying Taiwan is shit. I am saying the fear, ir avoidance, or jaded or whatever word you wish to describe it, is pretty sad that we cannot trust our overlords. please have a shot and relax, youre looking into things I wasnt talking about at all :slight_smile:

edit. again., what I mean to say is this:

your post of “If a police officer wants to talk to me, I call my lawyer first before opening my mouth”

is accurate and i agree fully. i just find it sad that this is the world we live in…i stand by that.


That wasn’t agreeing with me.

You can’t agree if you missed the point. You haven’t even watched the video.

No it doesn’t. It reflects highly that a society can recognise that its human beings are not perfect and provides protections for its people to get the fairest treatment possible.

These protections are not just protections from law enforcement, they’re protections to protect you from yourself too! This is a foundation of our democracies to help people. Is helping people receive the fairest treatment ‘sad’?

Protections! That’s what they are. They’re there for fairness and equity. They’re the pillars that hold our society together.

It’s not a fear. It’s about conducting yourself in a smart manner when dealing with people who don’t know you! They’re doing their job investigating and have to consider a myriad of factors and people.

No it’s not sad. It’s happy that we live in a fair and equitable society and that the people who created the right to silence were thinking about how to balance justice.

Then I want that heart removed. That wasn’t the point of the post.

Too many edits to go through . I was agreeing with your points. my only point is that it is sad that this is what society has become that what your original points.were saying is the logical way to be. be it Taiwan or otherwise. You are missing my point. But, its all good. Not worth rehashing :slight_smile: heart removed as per your wishes.

Yep, that’s it. We have that right. End of story, really.

It sounds like awful advice. I certainly wouldn’t follow it. I wouldn’t necessarily believe anything a cop here told me, truth be told. Not if it was going to possibly affect me in some way anyway. That’s my experience.

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As Marco has also explained, and we all agree…it is reality. Of course we are lucky enough to have the rights we have, no one disputes that. What is the sad part is that society doesnt trust the police. nor do I (as part of society lol). and yes, other countries are the same. but regardless, this seems a bit pathetic when the population doesnt trust its own law enforcement. and you shouldn’t either, OP, that is solid advice which has been repeated above many times by all of us. it’s just a bit depressing thinking about this reality!


Every place has depressing things, I guess. A certain disregard about honesty in practical situations is one here–not to say it’s perfect anywhere else or applies to everyone here. Anyway, what’s sad is sad but I mostly care about what things are. It behooves one to get a handle on that!

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There is if the PO is a reliable friend or family member who may be able to get you out of a tough situation

I didn’t know that it was a PO’s job to “prove” anything at the scene of a crime. Isn’t that what the court system is for? If a PO simply suspects you of a crime, don’t they then have the power to simply arrest you?