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Vietnam's New Adultery Law Could Put You in Jail for Cheating

Cheaters, beware: starting this summer, marital infidelity in Vietnam will be punishable by law.

Thanks to Article 182 of the 2015 Penal Code, a clause which expands upon existing Vietnamese regulations, adulterers in Vietnam may be subject to jail time, reports Tuoi Tre.

“Article 182 of the 2015 Penal Code stipulates that those who commit adultery which results in divorce or the suicide of the husband, wife or their children shall be sentenced to up to three years in prison,” writes the news outlet.

The new law, which takes effect on July 1, 2016, will replace an older version which has been in effect since 2000.

While some may support the notion of sending adulterers to jail, not everyone is pleased about the forthcoming regulation, as some argue its ambiguous language leaves the door open for abuse of the law.

According to local barrister Nguyen Huu The Trach, the new regulation builds upon Article 147 of the country's existing penal code, which punishes “acts of infidelity that cause serious consequences”. However, this new expansion is problematic, Trach explains, as the language is vague and “serious consequences” are hard to define in a concrete manner. As a result, the law is seldom enforced in reality.

Lawyer Huynh Phuoc Hiep, member of HCMC Bar Association, points out that Article 182's language also stipulates the infidelity must cause either a divorce or suicide in order for those convicted to see jail time. However in the case of divorce, Hiep continues, adultery may be the direct cause of the separation or simply one of many factors.

“So, when is adultery a cause and when is it a condition?” Hiep asked Tuoi Tre. “It’s almost indistinguishable for judicial bodies.”

For the time being, lawyers are continuing to examine the new regulation ahead of its start date.

[Photo via UCSB]

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