Taiwan has banned international match-making services amid fears it leads to human trade and marital abuse, the immigration bureau said Thursday.
All commercial match-making operations across the country will be barred from August 1 with violators facing a fine of up to a million Taiwan dollars (30,500 dollars), the bureau said in a statement.
AdvertisementAs of June 2009, more than 410,000 Taiwanese men were married to women from China or southeast Asia, according to the bureau.
The ban, however, does not apply to 11 non-profit organisations authorised by the bureau to offer such services, it added.
Taiwan's parliament last year revised the immigration law to pave the way for the ban following a series of high-profile criminal cases.
A Taiwanese man was sentenced to life in prison in 2007 for killing his Vietnamese sister-in-law as part of an elaborate insurance swindle, although the Supreme Court earlier this year ordered a new trial after his appeal.
Another man received a four-and-a-half year jail term in 2004 for enslaving and torturing his Vietnamese ex-wife for nearly seven months. She weighed only 29 kilograms (64 pounds) when she was found abandoned in a power plant in central Taiwan.
Many such marriages were believed to be arranged by match-making firms and some touted trips for local men to China and southeast Asian countries to pick their brides.