Fri, Nov 19, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Police, prosecutors launch campaign to prevent vote-buying

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The heads of local law enforcement officers discuss how to pool their resources at a seminar organized by the Supreme Prosecutors Office at the Grand Hyatt in Taipei yesterday. The seminar was aimed at cracking down on vote-buying in the run-up to next month's legislative elections.

PHOTO: GEORGE TSORNG, TAIPEI TIMES

The Supreme Prosecutors Office yesterday organized a seminar for more than 100 heads of local law enforcement offices while Yunlin prosecutors raided Yunlin County Council Speaker Chen Ching-hsiu's (陳清秀) residence for alleged vote-buying.

To crack down on this year's potential vote-buyers, the Supreme Prosecutors organized an anti-vote-buying project and will direct the nation's police officers, prosecutors and special agents from the Ministry of Justice's Bureau of Investigation (BOI).

While speaking to prosecutor-generals, commissioners and directors from local prosecutors offices, police departments and BOI branches, State Public Prosecutor-General Wu Ying-chao (吳英昭) said that it is difficult to discover sufficient evidence of alleged vote-buying cases.

"For prosecutors and BOI agents, we organized an initial seminar on Oct. 21 because we need to come up with new ways to collect evidence while we are investigating potential vote-buying cases," Wu said. "It is a new challenge for us," he added.

As for the police, Vice Minister of the Interior Lee Chin-yung (李進勇) said that the ministry has also organized several seminars to help police investigate vote-buying.

"We held three seminars in Taipei, Taichung and Kaohsiung on Oct. 22, Oct. 26 and Oct. 29 in a bid to train our officers to carry out this crackdown," Lee said.

According to the latest statistics released on Tuesday, local police precincts nation-wide have received 3,094 reports of vote-buying related cases and have begun investigating.

For the last legislative elections in December, 2001, a total of 2,432 alleged vote-buying cases and 73 violence-related cases were reported.

"The statistics show that this year's legislative election is a lot more competitive," Lee said.

While heads of various law enforcement offices participating in a seminar in Taipei City yesterday, prosecutors in Yunlin County raided Chen Ching-hsiu's residence after they received an anonymous tip that Chen allegedly tried to help legislative candidate Chang Sho-wen (張碩文) buy votes by treating nearly 200 voters and supporters a free dinner party on Nov. 5.

Prosecutors confiscated documents during the raid but later refused to comment on the raid.

The Yunlin District Prosecutors Office said yesterday's raid was a necessary action because they needed to figure out whether Chen is involved in the potential bribery allegations brought against him.

"That dinner party was merely a get-together for my supporters, vote-captains and friends. It had nothing to do with the election," Chen said.

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