Sat, Jan 18, 2020 - Page 3 News List

Prosecutors probe vote-buying in New Taipei City, Yunlin

DIRTY CAMPAIGN?Staff filed complaints against each other in Yunlin, with each side producing a video allegedly showing a man handing out cash

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Law enforcement agencies on Thursday detained 21 people for questioning following raids at four locations in New Taipei City after they received allegations of vote-buying by a candidate in last Saturday’s legislative elections.

Prosecutors said that 19 of those detained had been released without the need for bail, while two were released on bail of NT$20,000 (US$668) each yesterday.

Tip-offs had been received that campaign staff for an Aboriginal “mountain district” candidate organized two banquets, one last month and another earlier this month, where people who attended the event were asked to vote for the candidate for whom the organizers were working, prosecutors said.

Pending further investigation, including gathering of evidence and questioning of witnesses, some of the 21 people would likely face charges of breaching the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act (公職人員選舉罷免法), prosecutors said.

Both banquets took place at the same restaurant in the city’s Sindian District (新店) and the cost was about NT$4,000 for each table, police officers said.

Meanwhile, allegations of candidates disbursing money via their campaign office staff and neighborhood deputies were rife in some districts in Yunlin County, law enforcement officials said.

More than 20 people have been detained for questioning by the Yunlin District Prosecutors’ Office in the past week after allegations of vote-buying raised by the campaign teams of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislative candidate Chang Chia-chun (張嘉郡) and Democratic Progressive Party legislative candidate Su Chih-feng (蘇治芬).

Election campaign workers filed complaints against each other, with each side producing a video taken using a smartphone allegedly showing a man handing out a bag that purportedly contained cash and campaign pamphlets, prosecutors said.

In an earlier development, the Hsinchu District Court on Tuesday stripped the KMT’s Lo Chih-hsiang (羅吉祥) of the mayorship of the county’s Jhudong Township (竹東) after Lo was convicted of vote-buying in the November 2018 nine-in-one local elections.

The decision upheld a first ruling in November last year, which found Lo guilty of disbursing NT$30,000 to 13 borough wardens to buy their votes and secure their support in the elections.

Lo was handed a prison sentence of three years and 10 months, which he appealed.

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