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Nantou by-election: Secret cameras film voters as accusations of intimidation fly

Cameras hidden in flowerpots outside polling venues, 4 people taken by police for questioning

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One of the cameras found hidden in flower pots outside a Nantou polling station today. (Facebook, Lin Ming-chen photo)

One of the cameras found hidden in flower pots outside a Nantou polling station today. (Facebook, Lin Ming-chen photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Hidden cameras have been found in flowerpots outside the polling stations for Saturday's (March 4) by-election, as the candidates accuse each other of voter intimidation tactics.

The by-election is being held in the second electoral district of central Taiwan’s Nantou to select a representative for the national legislature. The two main candidates are the Kuomintang’s (KMT) Lin Ming-chen (林明溱) and the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) Tsai Pei-hui (蔡培慧), who have accused each other of trying to interfere with the election results.

Lin said that hidden cameras had been reported outside polling venues, and also made accusations that DPP electoral inspectors were filming voters with their phones. In Taiwan it is illegal to film, broadcast, interfere, or “use mobile phones” to influence voters.

Tsai, meanwhile, said that protestors had intimidated her supporters, gathering outside polling stations and chanting “do you want war?” She also said that voters were being recorded.

According to CNA, the covert cameras were removed from the election site at Nantou Ying Pan Elementary School polling station, after the public alerted them to them. Four people were subsequently taken by police for questioning.

Ordinarily, the Nantou second electoral district would be relatively unimportant on a national scale. However, the election is the first in Taiwan since Lai Ching-te (賴淸德) became the chairman of the DPP, and will be the last held before the 2024 presidential election.

Given the DPP’s disastrous results in the 2022 local elections, the Nantou by-election is seen by some as a possible indication of the DPP’s chances of remaining in power in 2024.