Fri, Nov 23, 2018 - Page 3 News List

2018 ELECTIONS: Minister orders authorities to be on election alert

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Envelopes that are to be used for reporting suspected vote-buying incidents and other election-related infringements are pictured in Penghu County yesterday.

Photo: Liu Yu-ching, Taipei Times

Minister of Justice Tsai Ching-hsiang (蔡清祥) on Wednesday said that he has received numerous reports of suspected vote-buying and other election-related infringements, and has ordered law enforcement agencies to crack down on any illegal activities that could affect the outcome of tomorrow’s nine-on-one elections.

“It seems the situation is quite serious. Reports of contraventions are coming in from many regions across the country,” he said. “The biggest was the investigation into candidates buying votes in Hsinchu County’s Jhudong Township (竹東) last week, where prosecutors have taken in more than 500 people for questioning.”

“We are monitoring all illegal activities that could influence the election outcome. Prosecutors and police have been ordered to be especially diligent in their efforts,” Tsai said.

As of Monday, prosecutors were handling 4,171 cases regarding election violence and illegal activities, with 9,002 people listed as suspects. Of those, 3,163 cases were related to vote-buying, with 7,002 people listed as suspects, Ministry of Justice data showed.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Pingtung County councilor candidate Lin Tsai-ying (林釆穎) was detained after being questioned yesterday and charged with breaching the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act (公職人員選舉罷免法).

Lin and her mother were allegedly giving residents in Pingtung’s Mudan Township (牡丹) NT$1,000 in exchange for their votes, Pingtung County head prosecutor Chen Yi-li (陳怡利) said.

Lin’s bail was denied to prevent her from tampering with evidence, while Lin’s mother was released after posting bail of NT$50,000, Chen said.

In Yunlin County, prosecutors questioned 10 people after it was alleged that residents had received NT$500 for their votes.

A county councilor candidate surnamed Tsai (蔡) was yesterday released after posting bail of NT$300,000.

Tsai’s campaign manager, surnamed Wang (王), was detained after questioning, while a member of Tsai’s family, who was working on the campaign, was released after posting bail of NT$100,000.

Taichung prosecutors said that charges are pending in five vote-buying cases and on Wednesday, six people had been detained, including one candidate, while another eight people, including two candidates, were released after posting bail.

Hsinchu prosecutors yesterday detained an independent candidate running for a councilor seat in one of the county’s lowland Aboriginal districts.

Pan Nien-en (潘念恩) allegedly handed out red envelopes containing NT$15,000 to NT$30,000 to vote brokers and local officials, in exchange for their votes and their family members’ votes.

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