Sat, Nov 03, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Vote-buying allegations prompt probe, arrests

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

An investigation was launched yesterday into alleged vote-buying activities by New Taipei City Councilor Wang Ming-li (王明麗) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), while two borough warden candidates in Hualien County were arrested after reports of rule violations ahead of the nine-in-one elections on Nov. 24.

Prosecutors directed police and investigators to search offices linked to Wang’s campaign, while Wang and 11 others were detained over allegations that the campaign team handed out tea and other gifts in New Taipei City’s Sansia District (三峽).

Locals said that members of the campaign team, including Wang, gave out packages containing tea, vases and a vest bearing the candidate’s name to local borough wardens and officials of farmers’ associations.

Wang, her campaign manager, surnamed Lan (藍), and people who allegedly received the packages were questioned by New Taipei City prosecutors yesterday.

Prosecutors said they have evidence and intended to charge Wang with breaching the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act (公職人員選舉罷免法).

In a separate investigation, prosecutors in Hualien County said two cases in recent days involved up to NT$10,000 being offered for votes.

“This is the sixth case of alleged cash-for-vote election violations uncovered in recent weeks,” Hualien head prosecutor Wang Yi-jen (王怡仁) said, adding that three suspects were detained pending further investigation.

An official surnamed Chiu (邱) from Sincheng Township (新城) allegedly carried bags of cash to distribute to residents in return for promises to vote for certain candidates, Wang Yi-jen said, adding that amounts from NT$3,000 to NT$10,000 were offered.

Also in Hualien, an alleged vote-broker surnamed Lin (林) was handing out bribes of NT$3,000 to NT$7,000 per person for promises to vote for a councilor candidate or a borough warden, prosecutors said.

In Changhua County, Tseng Wan-huo (曾萬火), an independent candidate running for Erlin Township (二林) mayor and a local official surnamed Chen (陳), who worked for Tseng, were detained and questioned by prosecutors yesterday over alleged vote-buying using envelopes containing NT$3,000 apiece.

Prosecutors would file charges for breaches of election regulations, they said, adding that the duo gave conflicting accounts and were detained to prevent collusion.

In Pingtung County, eight KMT former councilors reported to judicial officials to begin serving prison terms for taking bribes.

The councillors — Wang Chih-feng (王志豐), Chen Mei-chiung (陳美瓊), Pan Yu-lung (潘裕隆), Lee Chi-hsiang (李冀香), Yen Chin-cheng (顏金成), Chen Chao-chung (陳昭忠), Pan Cheng-chih (潘政治) and Kui Hsiao-hui (歸曉惠) — were found guilty in first and second trials in 2016 and last year.

They were accompanied by family members and supporters, who said that the verdicts were unfair.

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