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.
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