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Thu, Aug 23, 2001 - Page 4 News List

Justice minister says crackdown on vote-buying must start now

FIGHTING CORRUPTION Chen Ding-nan called for cooperation between government agencies to end vote-buying ahead of the year-end elections

By Jou Ying-cheng  /  STAFF REPORTER

Criminal investigations of vote buying for the year-end elections must start now, Minister of Justice Chen Ding-nan (陳定南) said yesterday.

"I have received information from many legislators that some would-be candidates in their constituencies have begun the distribution of money to vote-buying brokers," Chen said at a press conference after a justice ministry affairs meeting yesterday.

The meeting focused on preparatory work for a year-end crackdown on vote buying.

"I have asked the State Public Prosecutor General's Office and High Court Prosecutors' Office to start investigating vote buying starting tomorrow."

The justice minister said he would ask prosecutors and investigators to temporarily leave less pressing cases and devote all of their efforts to fight vote-buying.

He stressed that the elections are the first nationwide polls since the DPP took power last May, stating: "everyone will be watching whether [the government] follows through in fighting vote-buying."

He also called for cooperation from the police to achieve his goal.

He said local police officers know best who in each area is involved in vote buying. He suggested they give prosecutors name lists of these vote-buying brokers to make investigation work easier.

Chen said he would talk to Minister of the Interior Chang Po-ya (張博雅), who is currently in China attending an APEC Women's Leaders Meeting, to seek the cooperation of the National Police Administration.

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