The fairness of Saturday’s presidential and legislative elections is in question after nationwide reports of the improper handling of cases of suspected vote-buying by the police and judiciary, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said yesterday.
Lee Chin-yung (李進勇), the DPP legislative candidate in Yunlin County’s first district, and Liu Chien-kuo (劉建國), the DPP legislative candidate in Yunlin’s second district, had been on a hunger strike since -Tuesday night in front of the Yunlin District Prosecutors’ Office to protest a raid on Lee’s campaign headquarters in Tuku Township (土庫) earlier that day, which the two claimed was an act of political repression.
Chiang Teh-lung (蔣得龍), chief of the Yunlin District Prosecutors’ Office, said his office had received reports that alleged Chen Wei-teh (陳威德), one of Lee’s campaigners, was involved in election betting prior to raid, adding that the investigation was legal even though the office found no evidence of wrongdoing and did not confiscate any documents.
Lee and Liu, who decided to suspend their campaign activities, ended the hunger strike yesterday afternoon after a visit by DPP vice presidential candidate Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全), who urged the two to carry on campaigning.
Yunlin County Commissioner Su Chi-fen (蘇治芬) voiced support for her party comrades, saying that the judiciary was turning a blind eye to prevalent vote-buying in the pan-blue camp to carry out selective enforcement against DPP politicians.
In Chiayi County, another hunger strike ended yesterday as Tsai Chi-fang (蔡啟芳), a former DPP legislator and father of a DPP legislative candidate in the county’s first district, Tsai Yi-yu (蔡易餘), was sent to a hospital at 11am for dehydration and dizziness.
Tsai Chi-fang said the local judiciary and police were ignoring vote-buying allegations against the pan-blue camp and he began his hunger strike on Jan. 4 in front of the Chiayi District Prosecutors’ Office.
DPP spokesperson Kang Yu-cheng (康裕成) told a press conference in Taipei that the judiciary’s inaction in the face of widespread vote-buying allegations against the pan-blue camp was unjust.
DPP mayors and commissioners in six cities and counties — Greater Kaohsiung and Greater Tainan, as well as Chiayi, Yunlin, Pingtung and Yilan counties — have issued a joint statement urging fair and stringent investigations into vote-buying, Kang said.
Vote-buying in Greater Taichung, Changhua and Nantou counties has caused great concern, she added.
Commenting on the Yunlin case, DPP lawyer Lin Hung-wen (林鴻文) said the raid was highly questionable and appeared to be unnecessary because the prosecutors did not gather evidence.
Meanwhile, Ho Po-wen (何博文), the DPP legislative candidate for New Taipei City’s (新北市) first district, yesterday said local police used violence against his wife while she was campaigning at a local market in Linkou District (林口) on Tuesday morning.
Chiu Chin-an (邱槿桉), Ho’s wife, said police punched and pushed her, as well as her staffers, because they were campaigning in the same place as President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who is seeking a second term.
In response, Tsai Yao-kun (蔡耀坤), director of the New Taipei City Police Department’s Sinjhuang Precinct, said members of Ho’s campaign were asked to keep a distance from the designated point of arrival of the presidential motorcade, which is standard procedure, adding that officers did not use violence.