Premier Yu Shyi-kun yesterday ordered the Ministry of Justice to crack down on vote-buying in the upcoming by-election for the Kaohsiung City Council, after the Kaohsiung Prosecutor's Office arrested seven bribery suspects Tuesday night.
"Premier Yu ordered law enforcement agencies to keep a close watch for vote-buying on the eve of the by-election, in order to demonstrate the government's determination to eradicate the perennial scourge of `black gold,'" Cabinet Spokesman Chen Chi-mai (
Chen said that Yu had directed authorities to clamp down on suspected bribery cases quickly and severely -- so long as there was sufficient evidence -- regardless of the criminals' status or political party.
Despite the relaxed election campaign, the Kaohsiung anti-vote-buying task force has received reports of more than 30 cases of vote-buying, and four local vote captains and three voters have already confessed to accepting bribes as of Tuesday night.
Two of the suspects admitted that they had been offered between NT$500 to NT$1,000 for their ballots, while a vote captain was caught with a list of names of suspected bribe-takers. The task force is now attempting to determine if it was the candidates that were trying to grease the palms of voters, or simply overly enthusiastic vote captains.
The by-election on Saturday is being held to replace the 18 former councilors who lost their seats for accepting bribes in last December's council speaker election, which is the largest scandal in Taiwan's election history for a municipal government.
Chu An-hsiung (
The Southern Taiwan Society yesterday said that the local vote captains were still trying to buy votes because the punishment for bribery is so minor that no one is intimidated.
In a press release, the society asked the Ministry of Justice to revise the law and strengthen the punishment for bribery to uproot the inveterate vote-buying culture.
In the by-election, 47 candidates will contend for the 18 city councilor seats. However, 11 of the candidates are family members of the city councilors who were ousted, mostly the wives or daughters of dismissed councilors.
For example, Chu's daughter, Chu Ting-shan (
As the DPP's campaign mastermind, Kaohsiung Mayor Frank Hsieh (
"I think the scandal surrounding the Kaohsiung City Council speaker election was the tip of the iceberg among the city councils around the country," Hsieh said. "However, the by-election is also a necessary labor pain in the development of Taiwan's democracy."
"It might be good for Kaohsiung City to be the first to tear off its scab," Hsieh said.
Hsieh predicted that the pan-green camp has a great chance of winning more than half the seats in the by-election, as long as the DPP's campaign momentum is maintained and vote-buying is effectively prevented by the law enforcement agencies.
"I expect this by-election will renovate Kaoshoung's election culture, and set an example for other cities," Hsieh said.
‘HERO OF THE ERA’: President Tsai Ing-wen expressed deep sadness at Lee’s passing, and told the government to assist his family with all their needs Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) passed away at 7:24pm yesterday at Taipei Veterans General Hospital. He was 97 years old. The hospital stated the cause of death as septic shock and multiple organ failure. Lee had been hospitalized there since February, when he choked on a mouthful of milk at home. He was later diagnosed with pulmonary infiltrates and aspiration pneumonia. The hospital said that Lee had been treated with antibiotics, but that his health had not improved, as his advanced age and diabetes had inhibited his immune system and led to recurring infections. During his hospitalization, Lee underwent daily kidney dialysis, which removed
‘WEAK POSITIVE’: The man arrived in Taiwan in May and was quarantined for two weeks, Chen Shih-chung said, adding that he might be infected a long time ago The government is considering tightening mask-wearing rules again in light of a potential domestic COVID-19 infection, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) confirmed seven new COVID-19 cases, six of which are imported. The other case involves a Belgian engineer who entered Taiwan on May 3 and remained in quarantine until May 17, said Chen, who heads the CECC. Although the source of infection has yet to be identified, the case could end the nation’s record of not having any domestic cases in the previous 110 days. The Belgian, in his 20s, is a technician
RECEIVING TREATMENT: President Tsai Ing-wen, Vice President William Lai and Premier Su Tseng-chang visited former president Lee Teng-hui yesterday morning Taipei Veterans General Hospital yesterday rebutted speculation that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had died a day earlier, saying that he was weak, but receiving treatment. The hospital said the 97-year-old Lee was not in good condition and needed ongoing care, adding that if there are any changes in his condition, it would make those public. The comments came after rumors emerged online on Tuesday that Lee had died after being hospitalized since early February. Soon after the unsubstantiated rumors emerged, reporters started flocking to the hospital seeking confirmation. Lee was admitted to Taipei Veterans General Hospital on Feb. 8 after choking while drinking
ROAD TO HISTORY: When Lee Teng-hui joined the KMT, the likelihood of a Taiwanese becoming ROC president, much less its first directly elected one, was hard to imagine Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), who was born on Jan. 15, 1923, in the farming community of Sanshi Village, Taihoku Prefecture — now New Taipei City’s Sanzhi District (三芝) — during the Japanese colonial era, and rose to become mayor of Taipei and not only the Republic of China’s (ROC) first Taiwan-born president, but its first directly elected one as well. Educated in the Japanese educational system of the time, Lee, who spoke Japanese, Hoklo (also known as Taiwanese), Mandarin and English, won a scholarship to Kyoto Imperial University, but his studies were interrupted by World War II. He earned a bachelor’s