DPP unveils task force to combat vote-buying

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Wed, Dec 04, 2019 - Page 3

Former minister of justice Chiu Tai-san (邱太三) was yesterday announced as head of a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) task force to combat false news reports and vote-buying.

Taiwanese should report such incidents and the judicial authorities should crack down on them “to ensure we can have clean elections, thereby safeguarding the fruits of Taiwan’s democracy,” Chiu told a news briefing, at which he presented the lawyers and DPP lawmakers in the task force.

“Due to advances in technology, there are many more ways to buy votes and do so on a larger scale,” he said. “It is not enough to depend on law enforcement agencies; the whole of society must join the effort.”

“We do not want to see ‘black gold’ (黑金) people being voted into office, so they can enter the legislature and affect government policies,” Chiu said, using a phrase to refer to organized crime groups.

The slogans for all Taiwanese should be: “Refuse to take money, refuse to sell your vote,” and “Cut off the black gold flow of money,” he said.

Attorney Huang Di-ying (黃帝穎), who heads a DPP legal team, said that there are three main areas to focus on ahead of Jan. 11’s elections: fighting vote-buying, stamping out the spread of false news reports, and stopping infiltration by foreign forces, including meddling via financial influence.

People must be vigilant and report such offenses, Huang said.

Official statistics show that most vote-buying activity of the past decade was by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) members, he said.

The tally since the regulations governing illegal election activities were amended in November 2007 is 135 KMT candidates convicted on vote-buying charges, or nearly 81 percent of the total of 167, while fines for vote-buying issued to KMT members totaled NT$110.46 million (US$3.62 million), about 79 percent of the total, he said.

“The convicted KMT candidates came from all levels of government, contesting legislative, city and county councilor, township mayor, and village and borough warden seats,” Huang said. “It seems that the KMT is unable to win local seats without paying for votes.”

Illegal gambling can also influence election results with rigged odds and promises of big payouts, which encourage voters to place bets, then encourage their family and friends to vote for that candidate, he said.

“Police last month made arrests in such an operation, which had financial backing from China,” he said. “Eighteen people were detained and 75 computers were seized, while several hundred million New Taiwan dollars were reportedly bet on the results of local elections.”