Any party receiving funding from an external force in an attempt to influence elections should be “ruthlessly beat down,” Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said yesterday, after prosecutors seized NT$618 million (US$20.3 million) in underground cash transfers.
The purpose of elections is to elect capable people, so government agencies must enforce the law and prevent vote-buying or other type of election rigging, Su told a weekly Cabinet meeting.
In two operations from July to September and last month to this month, 10 district prosecutors’ offices nationwide uncovered 66 cases of underground money transfers from Shanghai, Dongguan and Zhuhai in China, as well as Hong Kong, Indonesia and Vietnam, Ministry of Justice statistics showed.
A total of 279 people have been implicated in the covert transfers of NT$101.2 billion into the nation, the data showed.
Prosecutors have seized NT$618 million and six properties valued at about NT$20 million, the ministry said.
The seized cash was in currencies including the US dollar, the Hong Kong dollar, the Singaporean dollar and the Burmese kyat, it said.
The ministry said that it was still verifying whether any of the illicit funds went to candidates in the presidential and legislative elections on Jan. 11.
As of Monday, prosecutors had uncovered 219 cases of vote-buying implicating 395 people, the ministry said.
As of Monday last week, police had handled 78 cases involving the spread of disinformation concerning the elections, it said.
As of yesterday, the Investigation Bureau had received information about 16 attempts to influence the elections through misinformation and had launched probes into five, it added.
The chaos seen in the nine-in-one elections on Nov. 24 last year must not be repeated next month, especially not the blunder of beginning to count votes while people were still waiting to cast their ballots, which is “absolutely unacceptable,” Su said.
The Central Election Commission told a news conference at the Executive Yuan that its three biggest mistakes in last year’s elections were causing long lines at polling stations, prolonging the voting process and counting votes while people were still voting.
To ensure a smooth voting process in next month’s elections and alleviate crowding at polling stations, the commission said that it would add 1,340 polling stations, increasing the total to 17,226.
That would reduce the number of potential voters at each polling station from 1,500 to 1,200 in the six special municipalities and from 1,300 to 1,200 in counties, it said.
Next month’s legislative elections are to see the greatest number of candidates, including 412 regional candidates, 11 Aboriginal candidates from mountainous areas and 10 Pingpu Aboriginal candidates, commission Chairman Lee Chin-yung (李進勇) said.
In addition, 19 political parties have a combined 279 legislative-at-large nominees, he said.
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