Law enforcement authorities have intensified investigations into suspected election betting to prevent gambling from affecting public order or voting behavior, a senior police officer said yesterday.
Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) Deputy Director-General Yang Yuan-ming (楊源明) said that betting tends to be more serious in the run-up to presidential elections than ahead of any other types of election. He said police are closely collaborating with prosecutors to investigate suspected election betting.
His remarks came amid media reports that National Police Agency Director-General Wang Cho-chun (王卓鈞) has ordered a nationwide crackdown on gambling.
A day earlier, Wang ordered that election betting should be a priority target for investigation in the coming weeks and that alleged bookmakers should be probed and treated as organized crime suspects, media reports said.
The reports said law enforcement authorities have received tip-offs on more than 10 betting cases and that they could take action against these illegal operations in the near future.
Yang did not give an outright confirmation of the reports, but he did reaffirm the government’s determination to prevent any criminal activities from affecting the elections.
Meanwhile, Vice Minister of Justice Wu Chen-huan (吳陳鐶) said prosecutors would deal with any actions that are intended to interfere with the elections, either involving money, violence, betting or the changing of household registrations to support a specific candidate.
“All of our efforts are aimed at ensuring that the elections proceed in a free, fair and peaceful manner,” he said.
Media reports said most of the tip-offs on election betting were about the hotly contested presidential race, with only a few involving the legislative elections. The reports said the suspected bookmakers are mostly based in southern constituencies, such as Chiayi, Greater Tainan and Greater Kaohsiung.
Some of the reports said that underground sports betting parlors, online gambling sites and Mark Six lottery operators have been taking bets on the presidential election.
Since June, police have also received more than 500 tip-offs on election bribery cases, according to the reports.