Huang Teng-ching (黃澄清), top aide to Tainan City Council Speaker Lee Chuan-chao (李全教) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), was found guilty of vote-buying in last year’s nine-in-one elections and sentenced to five years in prison by the Tainan District Court on Friday.
Two other people, Lee Li-hua (李麗華) and Kang Ching-liang (康清良), described as vote brokers working for Lee Chuan-chao, were also found guilty and given suspended two-year and 19-month sentences respectively.
The court found the three violated provisions of the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act (公職人員選舉罷免法).
Huang was secretary-general of Lee Chuan-chao’s campaign office for last year’s November nine-in-one elections, in which Lee Chuan-chao defeated Wang Chun-tang (王峻潭) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to win the city councilor seat for Tainan’s Yujing District (玉井).
Investigators found that Huang worked with Lee Li-hua, Kang and other local campaign managers to offer NT$5,000 per household to buy votes from Yujing District residents.
After the election, Wang filed a lawsuit against Lee Chuan-chao to invalidate the election results, citing vote-buying and other irregularities during campaigning.
Tainan public prosecutors later filed charges against Lee Chuan-chao regarding vote-buying and election irregularities.
The Tainan District Court consolidated the two cases into a single case against Lee Chuan-chao.
In a separate case, prosecutors conducted an investigation into Lee Chuan-chao’s suspected vote-buying for the city council speaker position, which on Feb. 9 resulted in charges and detention.
After nearly two month of detention, the Tainan District Court granted Lee Chuan-chao’s release on bail of NT$15 million (US$473,454), also prohibiting him from leaving the nation or changing his residence.
Due to the charges against Lee Chuan-chao and the ongoing litigation, the Tainan City Council was at a standstill, as DPP Tainan Mayor William Lai (賴清德) refused to attend city council meetings until the court announced its ruling on the validity of Lee Chuan-chao’s election.
Following the court’s ruling, Huang vowed to appeal, saying: “This judgement is motivated by a political persecution. I will not accept it.”
Lee Chuan-chao also said the ruling was not justified and alleged political persecution, adding that he conducted his campaign cleanly, but was falsely accused of vote-buying.
Kuo Kuo-wen (郭國文), Tainan City Council DPP caucus convener, said: “The guilty ruling reflects the finding of clear evidence of vote-buying. It also means the day is near when a court verdict invalidates Lee’s election.”
“Lee Chuan-chao should not disregard the rule of law in our democratic society. He should have the courage to bear the legal responsibility and should stop proclaiming his innocence and cursing his own family name by pleading to the gods,” Kuo said.
“He should think about how to exit the stage gracefully. Our city council will not suffer to have a speaker who bought his way to the position,” he added.
RISK FACTORS: ‘We hope people can cooperate and endure it ... it is possibly the very important last mile,’ Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung said Taiwan’s COVID-19 restrictions and mask regulations are to remain the same next month, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday. The center reported 42,112 new local COVID-19 cases and 85 deaths, saying that the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients has dropped to a new low this month. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC, said that the center is keeping COVID-19 restrictions and mask regulations the same due to the local virus situation, and an increase in the number of imported cases of the new Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 of SARS-CoV-2, among other risk factors. Easing
TRAVEL CONFERENCE: Representatives from the two countries exchanged views on how to increase tourist numbers, with one identifying individual travel as a trend Taiwan and South Korea aim to increase the number of tourists traveling between the two countries to 3 million, government and tourism industry representatives said at a conference in Hsinchu City yesterday. The annual event was attended by Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communications Chen Yen-po (陳彥伯); Tourism Bureau Director-General Chang Shi-chung (張錫聰); Taiwan Visitors Association chairwoman Yeh Chu-lan (葉菊蘭); South Korean Representative to Taiwan Chung Byung-won; Yoon Ji-sook, an official at the South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism; and Korea Association of Travel Agents chairman Oh Chang-hee. Global tourism is expected to soon rebound to between 55 and
DAMAGE CONTROL: The KMT in a statement called the Taiwan Strait ‘international waters,’ after Alexander Huang said China had the right to claim it as internal waters Lawmakers and experts yesterday accused the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) envoy to the US Alexander Huang (黃介正) of acting as China’s stooge, after he said that Beijing has the right to claim waters beyond its maritime territory as its exclusive economic zone and that the US has no legal basis to assert that the Taiwan Strait is an “international waterway.” Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) said in an online post that most of the world considers the Strait an international waterway, adding that this is important for safeguarding Taiwan. “We have seen US warships transiting through the Taiwan Strait.
The Taichung District Court yesterday sentenced to nine years in prison an unlicensed judo coach who caused the death of a seven-year-old student after slamming him onto the ground more than a dozen times. In its decision against the coach, a man surnamed Ho (何), the court cited his lack of remorse for using excessive force against an inadequately trained child and his failure to reconcile with the parents for his role in their son’s death. Speaking on behalf of the boy’s mother, Taichung City Councilor Jacky Chen (陳清龍) said the family would appeal to a higher court. Prosecutors said that Ho on