Liu Rui-peng (劉瑞鵬), the son of Miaoli County Commissioner Liu Cheng-hung (劉政鴻), will be brought in for questioning after allegations were made that he was involved in vote-buying during the Tongluo Township (銅鑼) Farmers’ Association election in Miaoli County on Tuesday, prosecutors said yesterday.
Seventeen farmers’ associations across the nation on Tuesday conducted simultaneous elections to fill the seats of nine board members and three supervisors in each association.
Chung Shan-yun (鍾善云), the director of the Tungluo Township Farmers’ Association, said that Liu Rui-peng had bribed one of her association’s members to vote against her.
Sources say that Chung was tipped to win, with 23 of the association’s 45 members expected to vote for her, a slim majority that would have seen her defeat her opponent, Tongluo Farmers’ Association chief executive Tseng Yi-hsiao (曾義孝), by one vote.
Association board members and supervisors are responsible for ratifying the nominations of executive officers, so whoever has the backing of the majority of the board and supervisors has the best chance of having their candidacy approved.
Chung said that one of her supporters, Liu Han-fu (劉漢富), told her that Liu Rui-peng and former Gongguan Village (公館) warden Liu Kai-feng (劉凱峰) had visited him before the election to make him a deal: If he voted for Tseng’s faction, the county government would start building a retaining wall that Liu Fu-hand had been lobbying for.
Liu Rui-peng did not specify how the wall would be built, or who would pay for it, Liu Han-fu said, adding that the project would have cost about NT$4 million (US$136,705).
Liu Fu-han said that Liu Rui-peng presented him with a list of board members in Tseng’s faction and asked Liu Fu-han to vote for them.
Liu Han-fu turned himself in to the police on Tuesday and was transferred to the Miaoli District Prosecutors’ Office to be questioned further about his claims.
Chung said that Liu Fu-han was not the only one Liu Rui-peng had visited, but had been the only one who sold their vote.
Chung said it was her first time running for public office and that she had been unaware that political meddling in farmers’ associations was so assiduous.
She also said that the farmers’ association election in Dahu District (大湖) had been influenced by Liu Rui-peng’s father.
Chung said that Liu Cheng-hung organized the campaign of Huang Po-lin (黃柏林), the head of the Miaoli County Government’s Aborigine Administration, and was behind his winning five out of nien seats, paving the way for Huang to become the executive officer of the Dahu Farmers’ Association.
Chung and her supporters yesterday held a press conference calling for the result of the election to be annulled and for another to be held because of political interference and foul play.
Meanwhile, Liu Rui-peng said he had visited Liu Han-fu “to sway him to come to our side,” but stressed that “no unethical deals were made.”
Liu Rui-peng said he was not sure what Liu Han-fu had accused him of doing, but if false allegations were made against him, he would consider suing Liu Fu-han for slander.
Liu Cheng-hung said he had also not made any such deals, adding that it was standard practice for supporters of one faction to try to bring those of other factions to their side.
Liu Kai-feng also denied being involved in the alleged vote-buying and said he had not been involved in politics since he retired, adding that his inclusion in the allegations were probably a misunderstanding.