Authorities yesterday conducted searches and detained suspects in several cities and counties in investigations into allegations of vote-buying ahead of elections at regional farmers’ associations, with New Taipei City seeing the most raids.
Officials at the New Taipei City District Prosecutors’ Office said they received a tip-off that a candidate, surnamed Chuang (莊), who is running for the chairmanship of an association in Linkou District (林口), and his relatives, paid NT$200,000 per ballot to eligible voters.
Prosecutor Chen Hsiang-chu (陳香君) led police and investigators as they conducted raids at residences and offices belonging to Chuang and other suspects, detaining a total of 70 people for questioning on suspicion of violating the Farmers Association Act (農會法).
Elections of farmers association’s representatives, governing board and supervisors, who are elected every four years, were held last month across the nation.
The vote-buying allegations are related to the elections of association chairman, secretary-general and other top positions, which in some regions were held last weekend, while the rest are to take place this weekend.
Investigations into alleged vote-buying in Taoyuan’s Yangmei District (楊梅) saw prosecutors carry out searches and summon five suspects for questioning, four of whom won posts in last month’s elections.
All five were released after posting bails between NT$100,000 and NT$50,000.
In Nantou County’s Yuchi Township (魚池), prosecutors questioned 28 suspects this week, of whom eight had allegedly admitted to receiving NT$100,000 each from an association executive, surnamed Liu (劉), who won the chairmanship in last weekend’s election.
Liu and his father, both suspected of bribing voters, were released on Wednesday after posting bail of NT$1 million each, while another suspect was released on NT$500,000 bail.
Another investigation is under way Taitung County’s Guanshan Township (關山), where a governing board member, surnamed Chen (陳), of the local association allegedly paid several voters up to NT$10,000 and took them to a KTV parlor in exchange for their support to a friend of his who is running for the secretary-general.
In related news, judicial officials in Hualien County said they received reports that several candidates had prepared millions of New Taiwan dollars in cash to bribe eligible voters in an election for local fishermen’s associations scheduled to be held this weekend.
Hualien County prosecutors yesterday summoned about a dozen executives and governing board members from a local fishermen’s association for questioning.