The Ministry of Justice’s Investigation Bureau is investigating 33 cases of alleged Chinese funding to candidate campaigns for the Nov. 24 elections, bureau Director-General Leu Wen-jong (呂文忠) said yesterday.
Asked by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus deputy secretary-general William Tseng (曾銘宗) during a meeting of the legislature’s Internal Administration Committee whether the suspect funds were coming directly from the Chinese government or affiliated organizations, Leu said: “You could say that.”
Many of the cases involved donations made through Taiwanese businesses in China, Leu said.
Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times
When Tseng asked if any of the donations could have simply been made by those businesses, without Chinese help, Leu said the bureau has evidence that China is attempting to influence the elections by funding certain candidates and is preparing cases for prosecution.
If Taiwanese businesses were making the donations on their own, they would be legal, but the Political Donations Act (政治獻金法) and the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (台灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例) prohibit donations made by Chinese individuals or entities, Leu said.
China has been attempting to circumvent these laws by making donations in other ways, such as through China-based Taiwanese businesses, with the money coming from China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, he said.
Four cases that are being investigated by prosecutors in Taipei and Changhua, Yunlin and Pingtung counties are being treated as alleged vote-buying, the bureau said.
Leu said Beijing had also invited some influential community leaders to visit China on all-expenses-paid trips in return for their backing of China’s favored candidates, but he would not give more details when pressed by committee members.
The bureau has identified certain candidates it believes are being funded by Beijing and it is building cases against them, he added.
The Taiwan High Prosecutors’ Office has conducted raids on two underground money exchanges, he said.
The raids were part of preparations for next month’s meeting of the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering and aimed at cracking down on campaign violations, as some money meant to influence the elections has been flowing into the exchanges from China, he said.
Mainland Affairs Council Minister Chen Ming-tong (陳明通) told the committee that the council was already looking into the cases, but needed more specific information from the bureau.
Meanwhile, Minister of Justice Tsai Ching-hsiang (蔡清祥) called on the police to step up measures against foreign interference in next month’s elections.
Additional reporting by CNA
BUSY DAY: The same day the USS ‘Barry’ passed through the Strait, Taiwan was ending its Han Kuang military exercises, while China said it conducted an exercise near Taiwan A US Navy ship on Friday sailed through the Taiwan Strait, marking the ninth time a US military vessel has transited the Strait since US President Joe Biden took office in January. The USS Barry, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, conducted a “routine” transit through the Strait, the US Navy said in a statement, adding that the journey through international waters was conducted “in accordance with international law.” “The ship’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the US’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the US Navy said. “The United States military flies, sails and operates anywhere international law allows.” The Ministry
CLOSED FOR DISINFECTION: Two of the three local cases were linked to a cluster infection at a kindergarten, while the other case works at a McDonald’s restaurant The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported three new local COVID-19 infections and 11 imported cases, but no deaths. The local cases are two men and a woman aged between 20 and 80 who reside in Taipei, New Taipei City and Taoyuan, the CECC said in a news release. Two of them are linked to a cluster infection at a kindergarten in New Taipei City’s Banciao District (板橋), said Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is the CECC’s spokesman. He said they are both associated with the mother of a kindergarten student, who was earlier confirmed to have
BIOLOGICAL AGENT: A containment exercise was held in southern Tainan, in response to a mock assault where troops were assumed to be attacked by bioweapons The live-fire component of this year’s annual Han Kuang military exercises, Taiwan’s major war games involving all military branches, began yesterday morning and is to run until Friday to test the armed forces’ capability to fend off a Chinese invasion. The 37th edition of the annual event officially began after the Ministry of National Defense’s Joint Operations Command Center, also known as the Hengshan Command Center, announced the initiation of the five-day live-fire drills. Yesterday’s drills were focused on testing the military’s preservation and maintenance of combat capabilities in the event of a full-scale Chinese invasion. As part of the drills, air force
WELCOME BACK: Foreign spouses or minor children of Taiwanese can now directly apply for a visa with representative offices overseas, the CECC said Regulations on applications for entry to the nation by foreign spouses or minor children of Taiwanese have been relaxed effective immediately, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, as it reported two new local and three imported cases of COVID-19. Deputy Minister of the Interior Chen Tsung-yen (陳宗彥), deputy head of the center, said the relaxation meant that such applications would be treated as general cases, instead of special ones that are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. “Considering the recent local COVID-19 situation and the needs of foreign spouses and children to visit their family in Taiwan, we are allowing Taiwan’s