Wed, Dec 20, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Hands behind vote buying still at large

NOT FABRICATION Although the masterminds behind the scheme have yet to be found, prosecutors are now fairly sure the DPP candidate did not initiate it

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

After obtaining statements from individuals relating to the vote buying scandal involving the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Kaohsiung mayoral candidate's camp, prosecutors yesterday said they were still looking for the mastermind behind the scheme.

"Although the evidence we have does not show that either the KMT Kaohsiung mayoral candidate Huang Chun-ying (黃俊英) camp or the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Kaohsiung mayoral candidate Chen Chu (陳菊) camp were involved in the vote buying scandal, we believe there are other suspects out there whom we have yet to identify," Kaohsiung District Prosecutors' Office spokesman Chung Chung-hsiao (鍾忠孝) said during a press conference yesterday.

Huang's camp accused the Chen camp of fabricating the vote-buying incident by ordering a couple of individuals from Chen's camp to do so in an attempt to discredit Huang and his camp.

But Chung said prosecutors had by now "almost proved" that the incident had nothing to do Chens' camp.

Chung said that Ku Hsin-ming (古鋅酩), who rented two buses to transport Huang's supporters to his election-eve rally on Dec. 8 , admitted paying voters NT$500 (US$15) to vote for Huang. He said that in total he had spent NT$60,000 for the bribes and the bus rental.

Ku told prosecutors that two men, Su Wan-chi (蘇萬基) and Yang Ching-te (楊慶德), had asked him to "mobilize" voters for Huang's rally on Dec. 8, but did not give him money to bribe voters.

Su and Yang were both arrested after Ku delivered himself to the authorities.

Su and Yang said they supported Huang's campaign and belonged to the Kaohsiung Yunlin Association.

Chung said prosecutors were wondering why Ku would use his own money for the bribes and suspected someone had given him the money to do so.

Ku has been detained for further questioning.

Late on Dec. 8, Chen's campaign team held a press conference saying that five young DPP volunteers who pretended to be Huang supporters had seen Ku give NT$500 to passengers on a bus, instructing them to vote for Huang.

Huang immediately said that his DPP rival was resorting to "dirty tricks" and was trying to besmirch him on the eve of the election by accusing him of involvement in vote-buying.

Prosecutors identified Ku and the passengers after examining a videotape released by Chen's campaign team.

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