Eight people have been indicted over allegations of vote-buying in last year’s Tainan City Council speakership election.
The Tainan District Prosecutors’ Office pressed charges related to the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act (公職人員選舉罷免法) against Tainan City Council Speaker Lee Chuan-chiao (李全教) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), Chuo Hua-min (卓華民) of the KMT, Tsai Chi-hsin (蔡啟新) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), former councilor Yang Ming-ta (楊明達), independent Wu Chun-cheng (吳春成), Lin Tsung-pin (林聰彬), independent Kuo Hsiu-chu (郭秀珠) and Luo Chin-sheng (羅進生).
Other city councilors — including independent Kumu Hacyo, Tseng Wang Ya-yun (曾王雅雲) of the DPP, Lin Chih-chan (林志展) of the KMT, Hou Cheng-tsai (侯澄財) of the DPP, Tsai Su Chiu-chin (蔡蘇秋金) of the DPP , Lai Hui-yuan (賴惠員) of the DPP and Tang Bi-a (唐碧娥) of the DPP — are to be investigated further, the prosecutors’ office said.
Photo: Tsai Wen-chu, Taipei Times
District prosecutors searched the homes and offices of the suspects on Feb. 8, Feb. 13 and on Thursday last week, confiscating cellphones and computers. Prosecutors also interviewed witnesses and the suspects on multiple occasions.
The investigation found that all eight had violated Clause 1 of Article 100 of the act during the elections for the local city council speaker and deputy speaker, the office said.
Lee and Kuo, in a bid to win the elections, had allegedly called Tsai Chih-hsin, the husband of independent City Councilor Chuang Yu-chu (莊玉珠), Yang Ming-ta, former city councilor Wu, Kumu Hacyo’s former election chief of staff Luo, former Sigang Township (西港) mayor Chuo and Kuo’s election office executive Lin and offered them between NT$300,000 and NT$10 million (US$9,584 and US$319,458) per vote, the prosecutors’ office said.
Lee allegedly planned to escape to China on Feb. 8 when he was found waiting to board a flight to Xiamen. The prosecutors’ office applied to the court to detain Lee the next day, which the collegiate bench approved on Feb. 18.
The next step is to discover what became of the bribery money, the prosecutors’ office said.
The KMT suspended Lee from the Central Standing Committee after his detention in February.
KMT spokesman Yang Wei-chung (楊偉中) said that the party respected the judiciary’s decision, although the party did not plan any further disciplinary action against Lee for the time being.
Meanwhile, Lee was released on NT$15 million bail after a three-hour assessment in the Tainan District Court. Tsai Chi-hsin was released on NT$1 million bail, while Yang Ming-ta and Wu were released on bail of NT$500,000 each. Lin posted bail of NT$300,000. All the suspects were ordered to be confined to their residences.
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