Prosecutors on Wednesday initiated an investigation of Kaohsiung Civil Affairs Bureau Director-General Tsao Huan-jung (曹桓榮) for allegedly telling supporters of Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) to interfere with a recall vote against Han, while pan-green politicians denounced the mayor and his team for devising ways to obstruct voting.
After receiving complaints from residents, the Kaohsiung District Prosecutors’ Office launched its probe of Tsao for alleged breaches of the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act (公職人員選舉罷免法).
Complainants provided evidence that Tsao on Saturday last week wrote on messaging app Line that Han supporters should not vote in the June 6 recall vote, saying: “We shall not vote, but we must monitor polling stations to put pressure on people voting to recall Han,” the office said.
Photo: Chen Wen-chan, Taipei Times
Tsao, a former head of the youth wing of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) Kaohsiung branch, allegedly wrote the message one day after Han in a video posted on Facebook urged people not to “engage in any political activities” on the day of the vote and “those outside of Kaohsiung should not travel to the city.”
Pundits have said that Han and his team are attempting to reduce voter turnout, as votes in favor of recalling him need to exceed 25 percent, or 575,091 ballots, of eligible voters in the city for the motion to pass.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator (王定宇) said that the suggestion to “monitor voting” by Han’s administration and KMT officials is aimed at identifying who attends so they can divide people into “us” and “them,” which would lead some people to fear retribution.
“It is not right to put pressure on citizens exercising their right to vote,” Wang said. “It is an intimidation tactic, and the best way to fight such ‘dirty tricks’ by the KMT and Han’s team is for Kaohsiung residents to come out en masse and cast ‘yes’ votes.”
Taipei City Councilor Wang Shih-chien (王世堅) and other DPP officials have warned that other tactics are being deployed, following reports that members of Han’s camp last week attended a banquet in Taipei for talks with China Unification Promotion Party Chairman Chang An-le (張安樂) and members of the Bamboo Union crime syndicate.
Plans were made at the banquet for gang members and Han supporters to obstruct the recall vote by lining up at polling stations, where they would try to delay and disrupt the process, sources said.
Some of the tactics include filming the proceedings outside of the polling stations to intimidate voters, as well as having older people and gang members in line move slowly and cause delays, such as by not presenting their identification when at the head of the line, to prolong the process, with the aim of making people give up on voting on what is expected to be a hot day, the sources said.
Several DPP figures denounced the purported plan, saying that Han’s political career would be finished if a judicial investigation finds that he collaborated with gangsters to disrupt voting.
They urged Kaohsiung residents to not give in to intimidation, and to wear masks and hats while voting.
DIPLOMATIC MOVES: Beijing is reportedly pressing the state after reports of forming links with Taiwan, while the ministry is also planning to reopen its office in Guam soon A representative office is set to open in Somaliland at the end of this month, at the earliest, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday amid reports that Beijing is sending a diplomatic delegation to the east African country. The ministry on July 1 announced that Taiwan and Somaliland would establish representative offices, following a report by the Somaliland Chronicle Web site. It said at the time that the two nations did not plan to establish formal ties. Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi has instructed close confidants to explore the possibility of “mutual recognition between Taiwan and Somaliland,” the Somaliland Chronicle reported
‘IMMORAL, INSINCERE’: Huang Kun-huei said that Ma was ‘distorting history’ in claiming that Lee Teng-hui laid the foundation for the so-called ‘1992 consensus’ Former Presidential Office secretary-general Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) on Saturday rejected former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) claim that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had been a proponent of Beijing’s “one China” principle. Lee, who served as president from 1988 to 2000, died in Taipei on Thursday last week. After visiting the Taipei Guest House on Saturday to pay his respects to Lee, Ma posted on Facebook that “28 years ago on this day” Lee hosted a session of the now-defunct National Unification Council, during which he passed a resolution on the “one China” principle. That resolution became the basis of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s
NEW ERA: Taiwan, which has controlled its virus outbreak, now faces the challenge of safely resuming economic exchanges with other nations, Chang Shan-chwen said People should not focus entirely on having zero new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Taiwan, but neglect overall control over the disease situation, Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) specialist advisory panel convener Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳) said yesterday. Chang made the remark at a forum in Taipei discussing the steps Taiwan should take in the post-pandemic era, organized by the Chinese-language magazine Global Views Monthly. Chang, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩), and Stanford University’s Center for Policy, Outcomes and Prevention director C. Jason Wang (王智弘) each made a presentation, followed by a panel discussion with Chang, Wang and Buddhist Tzu
A Belgian man who tested positive for COVID-19 in Taiwan last week is likely to have contracted the disease in Taipei in late June, National Taiwan University (NTU) College of Public Health vice dean Tony Chen (陳秀熙) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Saturday reported that the man, who is in his 20s, came to Taiwan for work on May 3 and tested positive on Wednesday last week as he was about to depart. The man in March reported loss of taste and smell, the center said, adding that he worked in Changhua County, but visited Taipei several times,