Sat, Dec 01, 2001 - Page 1 News List

Minister says the anti-vote-buying effort is successful

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Prosecutors have arrested 3,509 vote captains suspected of involvement in bribery cases related to today's elections, Min-ister of Justice Chen Ding-nan (陳定南) said yesterday. Officials have already indicted 106 vote captains.

The minister cited the figures as he released the latest official statistics on vote-buying yesterday.

He said that 2,672 cases of possible vote-buying specifically for today's legislative elections were being investigated. Ninety-two of the 106 indicted vote captains worked for candidates during the legislative campaigns.

Prosecutors are also investigating 813 cases of suspected vote-buying for the mayoral and county commissioner elections. They have indicted 14 suspects so far that are involved in eight cases.

"I think the government's determination to stamp out bribery during the elections is quite clear," Chen said. "The anti-vote-buying campaign this year has been the most successful one of the past few years.

"Unfortunately, however, there are still candidates who are trying to secure election success by buying votes."

The Ministry of Justice's head prosecutor, David Horng (洪光火宣), confirmed in an interview with the Taipei Times that three incumbent lawmakers have been indicted on charges of vote-buying.

They are the DPP's Hsu Chih-ming (徐志明), the KMT's Hsiao Chin-lan (蕭金蘭) and independent candidate Wang Tien-ching (王天競).

Hsu was indicted on Nov. 22 while Hsiao and Wang were indicted on Tuesday.

Chen also defended the impartiality of investigators.

"Believe it or not," he said, "a lot of candidates or their campaign workers have called me every day to complain about our `overly strict' anti-vote-buying measures. Some of them even complained that our investigators singled out certain political parties or candidates."

But Chen said statistics prove critics wrong. "We have suspects from different parties, including independents. Who they are or which party they belong to has never been a concern to our investigators."

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