Sat, Jan 05, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Mayor in Changhua County indicted on corruption charges

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Lee Hsuan-tsai (李玄在), the newly elected mayor of Changhua County’s Beidou Township (北斗), was on Thursday indicted on corruption charges, while prosecutors elsewhere sought to nullify results from November’s local elections after investigations into alleged vote-buying and breaches of campaigning regulations.

Lee’s indictment was one of the more prominent cases stemming from the nine-in-one elections. Pingtung County prosecutors on Tuesday filed to invalidate election results for 30 local candidates, who were sworn in on Dec. 25.

Lee, a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) member, is accused of breaching the Waste Disposal Act (廢棄物清理法) by allegedly using improper influence to open a landfill site where a contractor dumped 54 tonnes of garbage, contravening bylaws.

Prosecutors said that Lee’s actions had saved the contractor about NT$77,000 (US$2,495), but that was an illicit financial benefit.

At the time, Lee’s wife, Yang Li-hsiang (楊麗香), was Beidou mayor, while Lee was director of the mayor’s office.

Yang did not seek re-election and the KMT nominated her husband to contest the post. He garnered 7,495 votes, defeating Democratic Progressive Party candidate Wang Tung-yu (王東魚), who received 5,729 votes.

However, if Lee is convicted, the court could invalidate his mayorship.

Lee has had other legal troubles. In August last year, prosecutors indicted him over the alleged sale of counterfeit pesticides to farmers. Investigators seized more than 3,000 containers of chemicals with allegedly falsified labels.

Lee was questioned regarding that case and released on NT$100,000 bail, with a ruling still pending.

Elsewhere, Miaoli County District Court officials said that 41 cases have been filed seeking to invalidate election results, with some filed by prosecutors and others filed by losing candidates, while similar cases were filed in Taoyuan (30) and Hsinchu County (24).

The accusations include alleged vote-buying and other breaches of the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act (公職人員選舉罷免法), court officials said.

The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office this week said that it had compiled cases against eight winning candidates for vote-buying, mostly involving borough and village wardens.

A total of 362 people were questioned regarding campaign activities, with nine detained and 65 released on bail, Taipei prosecutors said, adding that they seized NT$2.31 million in funds suspected to have been used by candidates to buy votes in the Taipei area.

The Chiayi District Court began a trial involving former Chiayi City Council deputy speaker Kuo Ming-pin (郭明賓), who in November was re-elected as a city councilor.

Kuo, who is facing charges of vote-buying, did not attend the session, at which prosecutors filed to strip him of his position as councilor.

Kuo, previously of the KMT, ran as an independent. During campaigning, he was accused of paying Chiayi residents NT$1,000 per vote.

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