Five members of the Farmers’ Cooperative Association in Yunlin County’s Erlun Township (二崙) were released on bail yesterday, after prosecutors raided several locations and summoned 15 people for questioning on Thursday.
Allegations of vote-buying also surfaced elsewhere, with candidates accused of handing out cash and gifts in exchange for votes ahead of the association’s nationwide election tomorrow.
Yunlin County prosecutor Huang Yi-hua (黃怡華) yesterday said that a female staff member acted on behalf of a candidate, surnamed Liao (廖), and handed out NT$3,000 per vote along with other gifts and campaign literature, which passed on to a vote-broker in Erlun.
Huang said there was sufficient evidence and charges would be pending against the staff member and four other people who were deemed to have violated provisions of the Farmers Association Act (農會法).
The five were released after posting bail of between NT$20,000 and NT$100,000, Huang said.
On Wednesday, a village warden surnamed Wu (吳) in Yunlin’s Gukeng Township (古坑) was released on NT$100,000 bail after he was questioned in the same investigation along with four borough wardens.
There are more than 20 vote-buying allegations under investigation in the county alone, as a number of local townships are hotly contested, Huang said.
Wu, a candidate for the board of the Gukeng Township Farmers’ Cooperative Association, allegedly handed out gift boxes containing bottles of camellia oil, a traditional health tonic in Taiwan, and noodle packages to eligible voters, prosecutors said.
In the county’s Siluo Township (西螺), the secretary-general of the local farmers’ association was allegedly threatened at gunpoint.
In Nantou County’s Caotun Township (草屯), a candidate, surnamed Chien (簡), and his wife were released on Thursday after posting NT$100,000 bail each following their questioning over vote-buying allegations.
Nantou prosecutors said they have summoned more than a dozen people for questioning during their investigation this week, with a vote-broker, surnamed Chang (張), and several voters admitting to receiving between NT$4,000 and NT$5,000 in exchange for voting for Chien.
In Tainan, prosecutors also carried out raids following allegations of vote-buying and detained a candidate, surnamed Lee (李), who is under investigation after reportedly admitting to paying NT$2,000 to each eligible voter in exchange for their votes.