The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) warned candidates in the Dec. 9 elections to refrain from vote buying if they wish to avoid prosecution and the possibility of seeing their hard-won election declared null and void.
A MOJ spokesman indicated yesterday that with the mayoral and city council elections in Taipei and Kaohsiung only one month away, the ministry has notified public prosecutors' offices to pay close attention to any candidate who may be engaging in activities that are in violation of the Public Officials Election and Recall Law (公職人員選舉罷免法).
The spokesman pointed out that 88 candidates in last year's "three-in-one" elections and this year's township council elections so thus far been prosecuted on vote-buying charges.
He added that four candidates who won elections have been convicted, resulting in court rulings rendering their elections null and void.
Candidates convicted on vote-buying charges are also liable to a prison term between three and 10 years, as well as a fine of up to NT$10 million (US$303,950).
Altogether, 192 candidates will be taking part in the mayoral and city council elections for Taipei and Kaohsiung, and special municipalities under the Cabinet's direct jurisdiction.