A folk ritual event sponsored by CPC Corp, Taiwan, in Hualien County in December was used as a campaign event for a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislative candidate, which could constitute a violation of election law, a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator said yesterday, vowing to file a lawsuit.
State-owned CPC provided NT$200,000 to sponsor a religious ceremony organized by Cheng An Temple in Sincheng Township (新城), Hualien County, on Dec. 15, but the ceremony was used to campaign for KMT candidate Timothy Wang (王廷升) and President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), DPP Legislator Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) told a press conference in Taipei.
The sponsorship amount actually exceeded the company’s internal regulations on sponsorship, which limits local folk event sponsorships to a maximum of NT$30,000, Hsiao said, adding that the ceremony became a campaigning event for a specific party and candidate — another violation of corporate regulations.
Wang defeated DPP candidate Lie Kuen-cheng (賴坤成), while Ma was re-elected in the Jan. 14 presidential and legislative elections.
Vote buying in Hualien County has been notoriously rampant for a long time, said Lie, who has also filed a complaint with the Hualien District Prosecutors’ Office against several borough chiefs for vote buying for Wang.
Lie said he had reported the Cheng An Temple case to the Hualien District Prosecutors’ Office before the election, but the office had yet to open an investigation.
Lie said he would file a lawsuit in a bid to invalidate Wang’s victory.
The DPP candidate had previously said he was confident Wang’s win would be voided and that there would be a by-election required in Hualien because he had concrete evidence of vote buying and illegal campaign acts.
Speaking at the same press conference, Julius Chen (陳容), CPC’s director of industrial relations, said the company always offered greater sponsorship amounts for events in Sincheng Township, where one of the company’s large oil depots is located.
The company had provided NT$200,000 for the event instead of NT$30,000 because the ceremony was changed from a one-day ceremony to a three-day event, Chen said.
Prosecutor Hong San-feng (洪三峰) denied any suggestions that the local prosecutors were ignoring the case, saying investigations into possible vote buying were usually harder than people imagined because of the difficulties involved in gathering evidence.