Fri, Oct 12, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Taichung candidate faces vote-buying indictment

SAUCE AND CASH:Vote brokers in Kaohsiung and Chiayi have been questioned for offering NT$500 and NT$1,000 respectively to voters on behalf of candidates

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Prosecutors hold gavels as they prepare to smash four ice sculptures reading “vote buying” and “violence” at a news conference at the Hualian District Prosecutors’ Office on Friday last week.

Photo: Wang Chin-yi, Taipei Times

Independent Taichung city councilor candidate Wang Chao-kun (王朝坤) yesterday was indicted for vote-buying after reportedly giving voters soy sauce, the latest in a series of arrests in the past few days for campaign violations.

Wang denied the charge, saying that the judiciary is interfering in his campaign and punishing him too harshly.

Taichung prosecutors said that Wang, 61, and a vote broker surnamed Lei (雷) had given gift bags containing brand-name bottles of soy sauce worth an estimated NT$360 to at least three residents.

Prosecutors said it was an attempt at vote-buying and therefore contravened provisions of the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act (公職人員選舉罷免法).

Wang, who is looking to represent Taichung’s Houli (后里) and Fongyuan (豐原) districts, said the gifts were handed out by Lei as thank-yous for previous personal favors and had nothing to do with the election.

However, prosecutors said that when Lei gave the gifts, he told the recipients: “Please give your support in the year-end election.”

In another case, a suspect in Kaohsiung questioned over alleged vote-buying was released on Wednesday after posting bail of NT$200,000.

The Kaohsiung District Prosecutors’ Office said that it summoned Lu Shun-hsin (呂順興) on suspicion of acting on behalf of a Kaohsiung city councilor candidate for Fongshan District (鳳山).

He allegedly paid NT$500 each to 10 people in return for a promise to vote for the candidate in next month’s elections, prosecutors said.

Acting on tip-offs, prosecutors and local police units on Tuesday raided several locations to gather evidence and summoned 13 people for questioning, including Lu, witnesses and people who allegedly received money.

There is sufficient evidence and witness testimony to bring vote-buying charges, prosecutor Cheng Yi-hsiung (鄭益雄) said.

Ten people who were questioned admitted receiving NT$500 in cash from Lu, Cheng said.

In Chiayi, prosecutors said they are investigating a vote broker surnamed Fan (范) on suspicion of giving NT$1,000 each to residents and asking them to vote for a certain city councilor candidate.

Chiayi prosecutors on Tuesday said they summoned Fan and eight residents for questioning, after which a bail court judge approved a request to detain Fan, because he would not reveal the source of the money and how it was used, as well as on the likelihood that he would collude with others to tamper with evidence.

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