Legislators, aides accused of vote buying
Prosecutors in Kaohsiung yesterday sought to void the election of two legislators in the Jan. 14 elections and indicted nine others in two separate alleged vote-buying cases.
Prosecutors in Kaohsiung filed formal charges with the district court in the southern port city against newly elected Kuomintang Legislators Chien Wen-tung and Kung Wen-chi, asking for their election victories be annulled due to alleged vote-buying.
In Taichung, prosecutors charged an aide of Non-Partisan Solidarity Union Legislator May Chin and eight other people who allegedly bought votes on her behalf without her knowing.
Chien and Kung are legislators representing the indigenous communities in mountainous areas.
Chin, who also represents the indigenous communities in mountainous areas, is a veteran who is now serving her eighth consecutive legislative term following her Jan. 14 victory.
In the Kaohsiung case, the defendants' relatives, friends and aides have been found to have allegedly offered cash to voters in return for their ballots, the prosecution noted.
The prosecution argues that Chien and Tung must have pulled strings behind the alleged vote-buying acts, or turned a blind eye to what they knew was going on, according to the Central News Agency.
In line with the requirements of the election law, the prosecutors filed the case within 30 days of the election authorities' announcement of their victories, the CNA said.
The Kaohsiung prosecutors said they are trying to drive home a message that vote buying will not go unpunished, the CNA added.
If they are found guilty and stripped of their legislative seats, by-elections will have to be held.
In the Taichung case, the defendants include one of Chin's aides, surnamed Chen, and two former local councilors, surnamed Lin and Wen, the CNA said.
According to the indictment, the defendants arranged free birthday parties for some local communities, which is allegedly a form of vote buying.
They also paid six voters NT$6,000 each for appearing at a meeting with a former member of a local representative body, the CNA cited the indictment as saying.
The prosecution is seeking lenient punishment for four of the nine defendants who have already admitted to the alleged crimes, the report said.
Legislators elected on Jan. 14 have been sworn in, but the Legislature will not convene for the first time until Feb. 24.
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