An estimated NT$9.7 billion involved in underground election gambling

Police have seized over NT$1.64 million so far and made numerous arrests

(Image from Pixabay)

(Image from Pixabay)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The National Police Agency announced in a report today that over NT$9.7 billion is likely to be in circulation in underground election betting rings.

The police have searched 24 suspected areas, seizing 40 people, 73 computer mainframes and 163 monitors among other related equipment, as well as over NT$1.64 million.

The Legislative Yuan’s judiciary and legal committee invited the Ministry of Justice and Investigation Bureau along with the National Police Agency to oversee a special report on how administrative neutrality and high-level anti-corruption standards can be upheld during local elections.

Deputy Justice Minister Chang Doo-hui (張斗輝) said all investigative operations launched are in strict compliance with the law, uphold the values of procedural justice, and maintain objective neutrality so that outside criticism about selective case handling cannot be validated.

New Power Party leader Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) has already called police efficiency and neutrality into question by asking why only NT$1.64 million has been seized if there are billions of dollars in circulation.

Campaigners have also been caught attempting to buy citizens' votes for the upcoming local elections on Nov 24. The Ministry of Justice announced that according to statistics collected by the Supreme Prosecutor’s Office, 4,273 people have been convicted in 2,045 bribery cases and 340 have been convicted in 256 cases of election-related violence as of Nov. 2.

Out of the 2,045 bribery cases, 70 percent were incidents of campaigners buying votes with cash or collecting them in exchange for gifts. A further 199 and 135 cases respectively involved campaigners offering meals or travel packages to potential voters.

The ministry’s Investigative Bureau guarantees new evidence of bribery cases will be examined and verified upon acquisition, and that the ministry will maintain close contact with inspectors to ensure all cases in which bribes are offered and received are recorded.

It hopes to strengthen its seizure of illegal gains and assures all incidents will be handled in accordance with the law and without selective bias.