Prosecutors yesterday handed down indictments over the Taiwan Provincial Farmers' Association election scam, recommending that newly elected association chairman Ku Yuan-chun (古源俊) and former Chiayi City Farmers' Association chairman Hsiao Teng-shih (蕭登獅) be sentenced to three years.
The prosecutors said Ku and Hsiao illegally manipulated the election for chairman, saying that in April Hsiao had detained 10 association board members and three supervisors overnight, demanding they support Ku in the election.
Also indicted yesterday were two men allegedly acting under orders given by Hsiao.
Political factions have fought hard for the seats of executive general manager and chairman of the farmers' association, as both positions carry tremendous budgetary power and political resources.
This year there were two factions fighting for the seats. The KMT had thrown its weight behind Lin Chao-ying (林朝英) for chairman and Hsieh Kuo-ku (謝國雇) for executive general manager, who was seeking a second term. Independent chairman candidate Ku Yuan-chun and allied executive general manager candidate Huang His-hsing (黃錫星) were also in the running.
According to the law, board members of the farmers' association first elect the chairman and the chairman then appoints the executive general manager, provided his choice has the backing of at least half the members of the board.
In practice, however, factions seeking control of the executive general seat usually seek cooperation with chairperson candidates in advance to ensure that their people win board seats.
In the April 9 board election, the Ku-Huang faction gained 11 out of the 21 board seats, while the Lin-Hsieh faction took only ten.
However, in a bid to secure the Ku-Huang ticket's victory and prevent board members from being bought off by the opposing faction before the decisive April 25 chairman election, Hsiao Teng-shih -- acting on behalf of Ku's camp -- immediately after the April 9 election used threats of violence and took the newly elected board members, along with three supervisors away for their alleged "tour," the prosecutor said.