Wed, Dec 13, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Kaohsiung vote-buying suspect caught

APPREHENDED The man accused of paying people to vote for a candidate in last weekend's mayoral elections admitted to police that he had paid them NT$500

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Kaohsiung District Court yesterday ordered the arrest of a man who admitted to prosecutors that he gave cash to voters and asked them to vote for a candidate in the Kaohsiung mayoral elections.

Kaohsiung prosecutors yesterday arrested Tsai Neng-hsiang (蔡能祥), nicknamed Hei Sung (黑松), and summoned four other individuals for questioning.

"Tsai admitted he gave a number of people on two buses NT$500 (US$15) and asked them to vote for a mayoral candidate and a Kaohsiung city councilor candidate. The four admitted they received the NT$500," Kaohsiung District Prosecutors' Office spokesman Chung Chung-hsiao (鍾忠孝) told a press conference yesterday.

Video evidence

Chung declined to reveal which mayoral candidate and council candidate were involved in the vote-buying case, but according to a videotape released by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Kaohsiung mayoral candidate Chen Chu's (陳菊) camp, they were Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Kaohsiung mayoral candidate Huang Chun-ying (黃俊英) and KMT Kaohsiung City councilor candidate Huang Po-lin (黃柏霖).

Late on Friday night, Chen's campaign team held a press conference saying that five young DPP volunteers who pretended to be Huang supporters saw Tsai give NT$500 to the passengers on two buses and instructed them to vote for Huang.

Huang said that his DPP rival resorted to "dirty tricks" and was trying to besmirch him on the eve of the election by accusing him of being involved in vote-buying.

Chung added that prosecutors had applied to the Kaohsiung District Court to detain Tsai to prevent him from colluding with others about the content of his statements.

The official said it was still not clear whether Huang Chun-ying or Huang Po-ling knew about the vote-buying or had ordered Tsai and Ku to do so.

It was also possible that the two Huang campaign staffers decided to do so on their own initiative, Chung added.

The four passengers were released without bail yesterday.

Bus man sought

Chung said Kaohsiung prosecutors were still looking for Ku Hsin-ming (古鋅酩), the man who rented the buses that carried Huang's supporters to his election-eve rally on Friday.

Prosecutors identified Tsai, Ku and the four passengers after examining a videotape released by Chen's campaign team at Friday night's press conference in which the six people's faces were clearly visisble on the video.

The video showed Tsai in a bus saying. "This NT$500 is for you to vote for Huang Chun-ying," but it did not show the money changing hands.

Chung said prosecutors would eventually find all the passengers on the two buses.

Huang lost to Chen Chu by a margin of 0.14 percent, or 378,303 votes to 379,417 votes.

Huang said the accusation had affected voters on Friday, constituting "cheating" and therefore the election result should be declared invalid.

also see stories:

Vote-buying a DPP hoax: KMT chief

DPP challenges Ma to quit if vote-buying proves true

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