Miaoli County prosecutors yesterday said that a commissioner’s election might be overturned if their investigation leads to a conviction in a vote-buying case.
Three people this week were indicted on vote-buying charges in Miaoli amid investigations there and elsewhere into alleged election contraventions in the wake of last month’s nine-in-one polls.
The trio — who prosecutors said had links to Miaoli County commissioner-elect Chung Tung-chin (鍾東錦) — are a woman surnamed Chiu (丘), a man surnamed Lin (林) and a manager of a township-area election campaign surnamed Chen (陳).
Chung, who was speaker of the Miaoli County Council while a member of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), ran as an independent in the Nov. 26 election, which he won with 42.66 percent of the vote.
“Chen headed Chung’s campaign team in Miaoli’s Dahu Township (大湖) and also worked for Fu Song-lin (傅松琳), a candidate for township mayor,” prosecutors said.
Fu, also an independent candidate, did not win his election. He supported Chung in the commissioner election after both quit the KMT before announcing their candidacies.
Miaoli County lead prosecutor Chuang Chia-wei (莊佳瑋) said that there was sufficient evidence to keep Chen and Chiu in custody, while Lin was released on NT$50,000 bail.
“The investigation indicates that the trio gave people NT$2,000 each to vote for Chung and Fu, as well as other candidates,” a court filing said.
Chen gave bundles of cash to Chiu and Lin, who conducted the alleged vote-buying, the filing said.
“One resident surnamed Chang (張) received NT$10,000 from Chen and Chiu because he promised the two that he would vote for Chung, Fu, a candidate for village warden and two township representative candidates,” Chuang said.
Another resident received NT$4,000 to cast ballots for four candidates, including Chung and Fu, he said.
Chung on Friday denied knowledge of the alleged vote-buying.
“In the run-up to the elections, we pledged a clean campaign,” he said. “Any illegal activities were organized by Chen and our campaign team had nothing to do with it.”
“We have been tainted by Chen’s activities, which he undertook of his own accord,” Chung said.
Miaoli prosecutors have unfairly released information during an ongoing investigation to falsely accuse the commissioner-elect of buying votes, Chung’s office said, adding that it would sue any party that tries to link Chung to the charges.
Prosecutors said that they would adhere to the law and follow correct judicial procedures.
If there is a conviction, it might instigate proceedings to invalidate election results that were affected, they said.
Election rules say a motion to invalidate an election must be filled within one month of official notification of the results, unless there are extraneous circumstances.
Elsewhere, prosecutors in Taoyuan yesterday questioned a person surnamed Chang (張) after reports that people were treated to banquets at which votes were solicited.
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