Sat, Jan 21, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Prosecutors charge Tainan county chief with vote-buying

NO SPECIAL TREATMENT County Commissioner Su Huan-chih was charged and could get up to eight months' jail time for being at a free DPP barbecue

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Tainan County Commissioner Su Huan-chih (蘇煥智), of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), was indicted yesterday for vote-buying for his involvement in hosting a free barbecue during last month's local government election campaign.

"Prosecutors asked the court to give Su an eight-month sentence," said Kuo Chen-ni (郭珍妮), a spokesman for the Tainan District Prosecutors' Office.

Kuo said prosecutors indicted 21 people altogether, including Su, the DPP's Tainan branch director Kuo Kuo-wen (郭國文), DPP Tainan city councilors Wang Ya-yun (王雅雲) and Liu Cheng-chang (劉正昌) and several staff from the DPP's Tainan branch.

Prosecutors asked for six to eight months in jail for each of them, Kuo said.

The indictment alleges that Su and the other defendants proposed a free barbecue to promote their election campaigns.

The barbecue was held last Oct. 9 at Hu Tou Pi (虎頭埤) a popular sightseeing location, and was attended by around 1,000 people, the indictment said.

"During the party, the emcee at the party asked the attendees to support Su and the DPP's councilor and township chief candidates who had attended the party, and Su himself delivered an address highlighting his contributions in his first term as commissioner," the indictment said.

"Obviously the free barbecue was a kind of vote-buying," the indictment said.

Su, who was re-elected as commissioner last month, yesterday insisted that he was innocent, and that he was confident that the courts would agree.

"The barbecue was held by the DPP's Tainan branch. I was just an attendee at the party, not in charge of it," Su added.

A rare war of words occurred between prosecutor Huang Chaur-grey (黃朝貴), who is in charge of the case, and the head of the prosecutors' office Chu Chao-liang (朱朝亮).

Huang publicly criticized Chu for asking him to give Su better treatment than the other defendants in the case.

Huang said that Chu asked him to question Su at Su's abode, but Chu rejected the idea. Chu then asked Huang to question Su at a room in the prosecutors' office, not at court, Huang said.

Huang added that Chu wanted Su to enjoy special privileges since he was the county's top politician.

Chu responded by saying that he hoped his questioning of Su could be conducted without the interference of reporters, who always wait outside the courts to interview people involved in lawsuits.

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