Prosecutors yesterday indicted Chiayi County Commissioner Chen Ming-wen (陳明文), his wife and six others for vote-buying in the run-up to city and county chief elections on Dec. 1 last year. \nChen is the first county chief elected in December to be indicted for vote-buying. \nChen has denied committing the offense. \nProsecutors at the Chiayi District Prosecutors' Office said Chen and his accomplices organized group tours for local residents and provided free meals, in violation of the Election and Recall Law (選罷法). \nChen won a legislative seat as a KMT candidate in 1998 but quit the party last year and joined the DPP about two months prior to the December polls. He was subsequently nominated by the ruling party as its candidate for county commissioner. \nChen defeated the KMT's Weng Chung-chun (翁重鈞) by less than 8,000 votes in the race. \nThe indictment said Chen's office contacted "vote captains" across the county in the name of his campaign support group, "Friends of Ah-wen" (阿文之友會), to organize leisure tours for voters between March and August last year. \nOthers indicted include three staff members of Chen's constituency services office, a township chief and the chief executive of a local farmers' association. \nChen told reporters that the trips took place before he announced his candidacy and had nothing to do with the elections. \nBut the prosecutors said Chen had long made it clear he planned to run for the commissioner's seat in December and that they had hard evidence -- including propaganda leaflets distributed during the tours and testimonies from several dozen residents -- to prove that the trips were organized for the purpose of swaying voters. \nAccording to the Law on Local Government Systems (地方制度法), Chen will not lose his commissioner's seat unless he is convicted and has lost all appeals. \nThe DPP government launched a sweeping crackdown on vote-buying before the elections. The Ministry of Justice handled nearly 3,000 reports of alleged vote-buying in the election run-up, which some analysts have called the cleanest in Taiwan's history.
BUSY DAY: The same day the USS ‘Barry’ passed through the Strait, Taiwan was ending its Han Kuang military exercises, while China said it conducted an exercise near Taiwan A US Navy ship on Friday sailed through the Taiwan Strait, marking the ninth time a US military vessel has transited the Strait since US President Joe Biden took office in January. The USS Barry, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, conducted a “routine” transit through the Strait, the US Navy said in a statement, adding that the journey through international waters was conducted “in accordance with international law.” “The ship’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the US’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the US Navy said. “The United States military flies, sails and operates anywhere international law allows.” The Ministry
FRUIT SPAT: The COA said China had not given evidence for halting wax and custard apple imports, adding that it would spend NT$1bn on promoting sales of the fruit Taipei threatened to take China to the WTO yesterday after Beijing said it would suspend wax apple and custard apple imports from Taiwan due to pest concerns. China’s customs administration earlier yesterday said it had repeatedly found pests called Planococcus minor, a type of mealybug, on wax and custard apples from Taiwan. It asked its Guangdong branch and all affiliated offices to stop clearing the products from today. China had acted unilaterally, without providing scientific evidence, Council of Agriculture (COA) Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) told a news conference, criticizing the announcement’s timing, as it came during the Mid-Autumn Festival, celebrated in Taiwan
ON ALERT: A woman who tested positive for COVID-19 while abroad last year tested negative twice in Taiwan before showing a positive result on Sunday, the center said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported two locally transmitted COVID-19 infections, four imported cases and no deaths. The CECC meanwhile warned nearly 500 people to monitor their health after a woman tested postive. The center also reported that a previous local case — a female worker at Taoyuan International Airport Services (桃園航勤), who had the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 — likely contracted the disease from the same source as a previous imported case from Turkey. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that the two local cases were reported in Taipei, and are a
CLOSED DOORS? The new US rules, which are to be implemented in November, have sparked concern in Taiwan, given its low fully vaccinated coverage rate The US plans to allow entry to most foreign air travelers as long as they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 — while adding a testing requirement for unvaccinated Americans and barring entry for foreigners who have not received shots. The measures announced on Monday by the White House mark the most sweeping change to US travel policies in months, and widen the gap in rules between vaccinated people — who would see restrictions relaxed — and unvaccinated people. The new rules would replace existing bans on foreigners’ travel to the US from certain regions, including Europe. While the move would open the