Mon, Nov 15, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Anti-vote-buying rallies held in Taipei, Banciao

PROMOTING INTEGRITY Government officials brought out cheerleaders, lion-dancers and even a police motorcycle division to show their seriousness

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Premier Yu Shyi-kun yesterday smashes a white ball, representing illegal vote-buying, at the 228 Peace Park in Taipei to urge people to help maintain clean elections.

PHOTO: SEAN CHAO, TAIPEI TIMES

The Ministry of Justice organized an outdoor party at the 228 Peace Park in Taipei yesterday to urge people not to participate in vote-buying, and educate a younger generation on how to say no to those who attempt to secure their votes with bribes.

"In addition to promoting the idea of saying `no' to vote-buyers, I also hope that we can educate our next generation on why we should do so," said Premier Yu Shyi-kun.

"Democracy means that people are the owners of the country and they make their own decisions," Yu said. "But if you compromise with a vote-buyer, it will mean that you let money make up your mind for you. It's pathetic."

In the meantime, Yu also announced that to carry out a clean election, duty prosecutors will be posted to local police precincts beginning Dec. 1 so that they can immediately get to work whenever a vote-buying case is reported or alleged.

In addition to emphasizing law enforcement officers' determination to crack down on vote-buying activities during the legislative elections, the ministry also announced a NT$10 million reward to whoever provides sufficient tips that lead to the conviction of vote-buying candidates or their surrogates.

Yesterday's event focused in particular on an appeal to young people. The ministry invited professional baseball stars, the police SWAT team, cheerleaders from different high schools and movie stars to join in the two-hour gala.

The activity attracted nearly 800, primarily children, teenagers, foreign visitors and seniors.

However, when appearances by the cheerleaders, lion-dancing students and professional baseball stars were finished, roughly half the audiences left the outdoor auditorium.

In addition to the ministry's anti-vote-buying activity at the 228 Peace Park, the Banciao District Prosecutors' Office held their own outdoor rally with the same theme near their office yesterday afternoon.

The Taipei County Police Department assigned members of its motorcycle, ranger, bike and Jeep divisions to join the rally, to impress upon the public that the police are serious about tackling the vote-buying problem in the upcoming elections, and have a variety of means to respond immediately to reports of the corrupt practice.

"At the outdoor party at the Taipei 228 Peace Park and here during the outdoor rally in Panchiao, our police officers and prosecutors have displayed their equipment, shown their determination and urged the public to stay away from bribes," said Minister of Justice Chen Ding-nan (陳定南). "We are hoping that we will never have to use these skills against anybody and that we will have a clean election."

Chen added that anyone who learns of a vote-buying case, or is personally approached by someone who wants to buy their vote, can call the police's toll-free number 0800-024-099, and potentially win a NT$10 million reward.

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