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.
As 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.