Thu, Jan 24, 2008 - Page 1 News List

Prosecutors charge KMT's Lee Yi-ting with vote-buying

MORE TO FOLLOW: The KMT legislator-elect is accused of having made donations to 16 temples in Miaoli to secure votes

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislator-elect Lee Yi-ting (李乙廷) yesterday became the first legislator-elect to be indicted on vote-buying charges since the legislative elections.

Miaoli prosecutors yesterday indicted Lee and two of his campaign staffers, asking the Miaoli District Court to sentence the trio to two years in jail and impose a fine of NT$2 million (US$62,000) each.

Ministry of Justice officials said that, with the evidence they had collected, several other legislators-elect would be indicted soon.

Prosecutors suspect Lee -- who won in Miaoli County's first district -- and the two campaign workers of having made 16 donations to several temples in the Miaoli area to secure the votes of the temples' managers and devotees.

Prosecutors said Lee and his campaigners made the donations between June and October last year, and that Lee visited the temples to ask voters for their support.

Although Lee said he made the donations out of religious conviction, he had never donated money to any temple prior to his campaign, prosecutors said.

They said that the donations should be considered an act of vote-buying in terms of the Election and Recall Law of Civil Servants (公職人員選舉罷免法).

Although Lee has been indicted, he will still be able to assume his legislative seat on Feb. 1. Prosecutors said they would file a civil lawsuit with the district court seeking to annul Lee's election win.

The KMT said Lee would be suspended if he is found guilty.

Lee yesterday maintained his innocence. He said it was normal for legislative candidates to go to "crowded places" to seek public support.

Asking voters to support him and buying votes were "totally different things," Lee said, adding that he had never been to most of the places prosecutors said he had visited.

Additional reporting by Flora Wang

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