Tue, Nov 30, 2004 - Page 1 News List

Yunlin County speaker charged with vote-buying

BANQUET The Yunlin District Prosecutors Office alleges that Chen Ching-hsiu and 12 others violated the law by hosting a party to drum up support for a KMT legislative candidate

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

Yunlin County Council Speaker Chen Ching-hsiu (陳清秀) was indicted yesterday on charges of violating the Public Officials Election and Recall Law (公職人員選罷法), according to sources from the Yunlin District Prosecutors Office.

Chen was charged for hosting a banquet at a restaurant in Yunlin on the evening of Nov. 5 to drum up support for Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislative candidate Chang Shuo-wen (張碩文).

The event, according to Yunlin prosecutors, was in obvious violation of statutes of the Election and Recall Law.

The prosecutors said they had gathered solid evidence and witnesses before bringing the indictment. They are seeking a prison sentence of one-and-a-half years for Chen.

Twelve other people, including Chen's secretary, Hsieh Kun-chou (謝坤州), were also indicted for co-sponsoring the banquet, which the prosecutors have deemed to be a vote-buying activity.

About 150 people were entertained at the banquet, the pro-secutors said, adding that 17 of them were questioned on the matter, with eight admitting to having attended the dinner for free.

Meanwhile, KMT legislative caucus whip Huang Teh-fu (黃德福) yesterday accused Premier Yu Shyi-kun of interfering with the judicial process. Yu had earlier suggested that the Public Prosecutors Office had lost its direction in its investigation of DPP legislative nominee Lee Chun-yi (李俊毅) for vote-buying.

Yu has also been accused of "passing judgement" on KMT legislators who currently face investigation on vote-buying charges.

Huang said that Yu had illegally exceeded his authority and that he should take over the job of public prosecutor-general if he wanted to personally direct the campaign against vote buying.

Complaints

* Yunlin prosecutors say the Nov. 5 party violated the Election and Recall Law because it was a vote-buying activity.

* They are seeking a one-and-a-half year prison term for Chen Ching-hsiu.

* KMT legislative caucus whip Huang Teh-fu yesterday questioned the timing of election-related charges and accused Premier Yu Shyi-kun of interfering with the judicial process.


KMT Legislator Huang Chao-shun (黃昭順) yesterday said that Yu was using the judiciary as an campaign tool and that he had no right to judge the actions of the investigating agencies.

He pointed to the example of KMT legislative nominee Hsiao Jin-lan (蕭金蘭), who, in the legislative elections three years ago, was charged with vote-buying prior to the elections. Hsiao was cleared of the charges, but there was no compensation for having lost the election, supposedly as a result of the unfounded charges.

Huang said that charges against independents Ho Jin-sung (何金松) and Tsai Hao (蔡豪) have been brought just prior to the election, after an investigation lasting three years. Huang questioned the timing of the charges and asked what sort of investigation into vote-buying required three years to complete.

In a related incident in Tainan, calls by Yu protesting the innocence of Li Tsao (李遭) on vote-buying charges led the Tainan District prosecutor to accuse the premier of "passing judgement before the case was brought to trial."

Yu denied this, saying that if prosecutors had solid evidence of vote-buying they should bring it forward immediately, but if there was any uncertainty, they should not reveal their suspicions.

DPP spokesman Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) said that Yu's statement referring to Lee Chun-yi was based on his own personal understanding of the case, but that the premier believed firmly that investigations into vote-buying should be non-partisan.

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