Thu, Jan 21, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Bunun people taken in for questioning over vote-buying

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

The Taichung District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday took four people into custody for questioning in relation to a judicial investigation into allegations of vote-buying in Aboriginal constituencies in the recently concluded election campaign.

Prosecutors said the four are suspected vote-brokers who acted on behalf of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Aboriginal Legislator Chien Tung-ming (簡東明).

Chien, 64, is from Pingtung County’s Paiwan community. He also goes by his Paiwan name, Uliw Qaljupayare.

Chien first represented the KMT after he won an Aboriginal legislator seat in 2008, but there were vote-buying charges and judicial proceedings against him arising from that election.

After the 2008 poll, Chien, his wife, the director of his campaign office and several vote-brokers working for Chien, were indicted on vote-buying charges and other election violations.

Authorities seized NT$4.2 million (US$124,165 at current exchange rates) — which was allegedly used for vote-buying — from Chien’s residence. Three people associated with buying votes for Chien were found guilty and given prison terms in 2012, but Chien denied association with the trio and was later found not guilty by the Taiwan High Court in 2013.

In the current investigation, Taichung prosecutors said they received reports on Jan. 3 that vote-brokers were paying NT$300 to voters in mountain villages in Taichung’s Taiping District (太平), most of whom were Bunun Aboriginals.

The four suspects are all Bunun from Taiping District (太平).

Investigators said a suspect allegedly took NT$100,000 and distributed the money to the three vote-brokers in question, and allegedly paid out NT$300 to Aboriginal residents while instructing them to vote for Chien.

Prosecutors said that a number of village residents in the region had admitted to receiving NT$300 in exchange for their votes, and a judicial investigation is being broadened to question more witnesses and other suspects.

In the Aboriginal legislator contest for mountain constituencies, Chien and his KMT colleague Kung Weh-chih (孔文吉) won two of the three seats being contested by 10 candidates. The other seat went to May Chin (高金素梅), who ran as a member for the Non-Partisan Solidarity Union.

For the lowland Aboriginal constituencies, there were also three seats up for grabs. The Democratic Progressive Party’s Chen Ying (陳瑩), along with two KMT members — Liao Kuo-tung (廖國棟) and Cheng Tien-tsai (鄭天財) — won those races.

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