Law enforcement officers yesterday questioned 25 people in Tainan about a candidate who is suspected of buying votes, amid nationwide reports of illegal campaign activities.
The Tainan District Prosecutors’ Office coordinated with local police and judicial investigation units to deliver summons to witnesses and persons of interest.
The investigation is focused on a Liouying District (柳營) borough warden candidate, whose bail was set at NT$150,000, Tainan deputy chief prosecutor Ko Yi-ling (柯怡伶) said.
Prosecutors planned to charge the candidate with contravening the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act (公職人員選舉罷免法), Ko said, adding that the other 24 people detained as witnesses and persons of interest were released without bail.
“The candidate handed out red envelopes with his name that contained NT$1,000,” Ko said. “He said it was just a gift to local residents in celebration of a recent national holiday.”
However, witnesses said that he was buying votes for the Nov. 24 nine-in-one elections, Ko said.
Meanwhile, prosecutors last week questioned four men suspected of working as vote brokers for a candidate running for a Chiayi County councilor seat.
They were allegedly giving eligible voters NT$1,000 each.
Investigators found that NT$200,000 had been used to buy votes, Chiayi head prosecutor Tsai Ying-chun (蔡英俊) said.
Two of the four men, who did not cooperate with investigators, were on Saturday detained after questioning, while the other two were released after posting NT$20,000 bail, Tsai said.
In Changhua County’s Beidou Township (北斗), investigators said that 20 residents had admitted receiving NT$500 each after promising to vote for a town councilor candidate surnamed Cheng (鄭).
Three suspects were questioned, but they gave conflicting accounts, so they were detained on Thursday last week, Changhua head prosecutor Yeh Chien-cheng (葉建成) said.
One of the suspects was Cheng’s father and the other two were neighborhood wardens.
To date, more than a dozen candidates from the county have been investigated for handing out gifts in return for votes in the run-up to the elections, Yeh said, adding that Cheng’s case was the first to have involved money.
In other developments, Hualien County prosecutors last week said that they plan to charge two Wanrong Township (萬榮) village warden candidates, surnamed Lin (林) and Huang (黃), who are alleged to have paid village residents up to NT$2,000 for their votes.
Hualien prosecutors told reporters that they are investigating more than 100 cases of alleged vote buying, while local police are increasing their efforts to monitor election violations by candidates.
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