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Mon, Dec 03, 2001 - Page 2 News List

Prosecutors say anti-vote-buying campaign not over

By Chuang Chi-ting  /  STAFF REPORTER

Prosecutors said yesterday that their anti-vote-buying efforts will be carried through, with particular attention focused on candidates who intend to pay off their vote captains and supporters after Saturday's election.

"Although the anti-vote-buying taskforce will be disbanded, the efforts to fight against vote-buying are not over yet," said Chen Hung-ta (陳宏達), a deputy chief prosecutor.

Prosecutors said that in the past candidates would ensure the effectiveness of their vote-buying by giving vote captains who are responsible for securing votes a percentage of a promised fee prior to the election.

"Candidates would then give vote captains the rest of the reward after they won the election," said David Horng (洪光火宣), head prosecutor of the Ministry of Justice.

To combat vote-buying, the Ministry of Justice used to provide rewards to citizens who reported vote-buying infractions within 10 days of an election.

A revised regulation stipulates that a reward could be granted to informers within the tenure of the office for which a candidate runs -- if the vote-buyer is convicted.

"This year we were able to have four legislative candidates indicted before the election due to probes that began early on. This would have never happened in the past," said Horng.

He said that preparations for cracking down on vote-buying began last September with inter-agency efforts.

"For example, the Ministry of Finance kept close watch on financial institutions that were suspected of appropriating funds for vote-buying."

The four indicted candidates are the DPP's Hsu Chih-ming (徐志明), independent candidate Wang Tien-ching (王天競) and the KMT's Hsiao-Chin-lan (蕭金蘭) and Chuan Wen-sheng (全文盛).

Among them, only Hsu won a post in Saturday's polls.

Horng revealed that it is very likely that more candidates, rather than just their vote captains, would be indicted.

Vote captains frequently insist on concealing the names of the candidates they are working for. In order to counter this, prosecutors are now "educating" vote captains during investigations by telling them that they could be spared conviction if they reveal the identity of the candidate employing them.

Official determination to wipe out vote-buying in the first legislative poll after the DPP won the presidency last year is greater than ever.

The most recent figures on suspected and indicted cases involving bribery are to be released today, the ministry said.

Figures released last Friday showed that 2,672 possible bribery cases involving 2,920 suspected cases of vote-buying were under investigation, among which 31 cases and 139 suspects involved were indicted.

As for county commissioner and mayoral elections, eight of the 813 suspected vote-buying cases were under investigation. Fourteen of the 592 suspects were indicted.

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