Taiwan's law enforcement authorities have stepped up their efforts to crackdown on vote buying and other election irregularities, with the islandwide elections of 113 new Legislative members only two weeks away.
In Kaohsiung, Hsiao Yu-cheng (蕭宇誠), director of the city's Environmental Protection Agency, was taken into custody for treating his subordinates to free meals at a restaurant on November 24, in exchange for their support of a candidate running in the Legislative election.
Also taken into custody are Shih Tao-kun, an inspector at the mayor's office, Wang Kuo-chuan, an EPA team leader, and Wu Yi-hsiang, who worked under Wang.
Under prosecutors' orders, agents from the Ministry of Justice's Investigation Bureau raided the offices of Hsiao and others on Wednesday. Investigators were looking for evidence that Hsiao collected rosters of voters working with his agency, and used his special funds to cover bills to treat them to dinner.
The judge approved a request by prosecutors to take some of the suspects into custody after they questioned Hsiao and other suspects over alleged vote-buying activites.
Hsiao denied that he was trying to persuade employees to support a particular candidate by treating them to meals. He admitted that he did use his special funds to cover bills for eating with his colleagues at some restaurants, but he said those meals were for discussing official business and for thanking them for their hard work over the past year. He asked the court to look into charges against him and to interview other witnesses in order to prove his innocence.
Nevertheless, Kaohsiung City Council Speaker Chuang Chi-Wang and some councilors affiliated with the opposition Kuomintang asked Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) apologize to all citizens for allowing her department heads to bribe voters into supporting Democratic Progressive Party candidates.
Meanwhile, a KMT lawmaker allegedly treated over 20 people from Kaohsiung to a one-day tour of Kenting park on December 12.
Prosecutors said that they suspected that the trip was paid for by KMT Legislator Hou Tsai-feng (侯彩鳳)as Hou's niece led the tour and her husband, former Kaohsiung city council speaker Huang Chi-chuan, was there to greet members of the tour group.
Prosecutors issued a warrant for Huang's arrest after Huang repeatedly ignored requests to answer questions in order to clarify his role in the case.
DPP Secretary-General Cho Jung-tsai said that he hopes prosecutors will probe all vote-buying cases with equal thoroughness, as many DPP candidates hsvr complained that prosecutors work harder on cases against them than on cases involving KMT candidates.
In Taipei City, DPP City Councilwoman Hsu Chia-ching (徐佳青) went to a police precinct to report what she described as a vote-buying case involving KMT Legislator Lin Yu-fang (林郁方)who is running for reelection.
Hsu presented video footage showing Lin wandering around several buses loaded with tourists heading for Miaoli County for a tour in early December.