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Tue, Feb 13, 2001 - Page 3 News List

Police arrest two in crackdown on union vote-buying


Ilan police detained two top officials from a farmers' association yesterday amid an intensifying crackdown on vote-buying in the run-up to elections at the farmers' and fishermen's associations nationwide.

Police suspect Sanhsing (三星) Township Farmers' Association Chairman Chiang Ming-sheng (江明勝) and CEO You Chen-yi (游振益) of offering the association's membership representatives NT$100,000 per person -- including a NT$30,000 advance -- in exchange for votes. Chiang, who is an incumbent at the Huanlien County Council, is running for a second term as chairman of the farmers' association.

Both Chiang and You denied the accusations of vote-buying.

On Friday, police also detained Lin Jung-mu (林榮木), a member of the association's board and an incumbent county councilor. Lin was later released for health reasons on NT$300,000 bail.

Meanwhile, Taoyuan police detained a representative at the Pateh (八德) Farmers' Association on Friday after finding NT$500,000 in cash at his house.

Taoyuan police suspect Huang Yao-tsung (黃耀宗) may have connections with Chiu Hsien-kuo (邱顯國), who is running for the chairmanship of the association.

Police said they had found large sums of money flowing out of what they believed were dummy accounts working for Chiu.

Wang Tien-sheng (王添盛), chief prosecutor at the Taoyuan District Prosecutors' Office, said candidates running for membership representatives' seats are offering NT$5,000 to NT$8,000 per vote, while those running for board member, chairperson and CEO seats are paying would-be representatives NT$500,000 to NT$800,000 each to buy votes.

Most farmers' and fishermen's associations in Taiwan run credit cooperatives, which are seen as the power bases of local factions. The upcoming board elections are scheduled for tomorrow.

Taipei County police said vote-buying is taking a variety of new twists amid the crackdown. Apart from cash, the payouts are also made in the form of lunch or transportation fees, a stake in an illegal lottery round, paying taxes on your behalf, pleasure trips and gifts, police said.

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