Ruling on death penalty
By SCOTT McKENZIE
THE legal tools to apply the death penalty or life imprisonment have been removed from the penal code in Macau in the lead-up to the return of the Portuguese enclave to China in 1999.
Although capital punishment and life imprisonment have not existed under Portuguese or Macau laws for more than a century, lawmakers have taken the unusual step of specifically changing the articles to order against such sentences being imposed.
The changes came with the gazetting of a new penal code for Macau to become effective from January 1. The code supersedes one dating from 1886.
The toughest change was in the area of environmental protection with the introduction of a maximum eight-year jail term for environmental pollution.
The new code makes the death penalty, life imprisonment and unlimited or indefinite detention illegal.
The maximum penalty is 25 years of detention in 'regular' cases and to 30 years in 'exceptional' cases.