Prosecutors seeking to detain Tainan speaker

Prosecutors seeking to detain Tainan speaker

TAIPEI, Taiwan - The Tainan District Prosecutors' Office is seeking to detain Greater Tainan Speaker Lee Chuan-chiao and three others for allegedly buying votes during the speaker election campaign period.

On Jan 8, the Tainan District Prosecutors' Office's chief prosecutor Chung Han-hsien led a team of investigators to the Tainan City Council building after notifying Lee that he was needed to accompany prosecutors in their search of Lee's office.

Lee and related authorities were then taken back to the prosecutors' office for interrogation.

After an overnight probe, Tsai Chiu-lan, Liang Shun-fa and Chao Kun-yuan were sent home.

Prosecutors formally sent the Tainan District Court a request to detain Lee, Tsai Chi-hsin, Yang Ming-ta and Lin Tsung-pin at 7.10 am yesterday, reports said.

City Councilor Wang Ya-yun was let go on NT$500,000 bail (S$21,450). Councilor Chuang Yu-chu left the prosecutors office on NT$300,000 bail. Sung Wei-ju and Pan Hsin-chuan were both let go after paying NT$200,000 bail.

Buying Votes

According to prosecutor Chen Chien-hung, authorities were tipped off that prior to the election, Tsai Chi-hsin and Yang acted as Lee's accomplices where they promised to pay city councilors between NT$300,000 and NT$10 million if councilors voted for Lee in his quest for the city speaker seat.

After a long period of investigation, the evidence is very clear, Chen said.

Other than the city council building, prosecutors also searched 47 other venues in their investigation of the case, said Chen.

A total of 19 witnesses were summoned to the prosecutors' office yesterday.

Chen said Lee, Tsai Chi-hsin, Yang and Lin violated the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act in their alleged vote buying.

DPP to Meet about Members Involved

Three Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) members were of the eight that were taken into custody and let go on bail in the Tainan city speaker bribery case.

According to reports, the DPP Tainan caucus will be meeting to discuss how to discipline the members.

Wang and Chuang have already been expelled from the DPP, said DPP Tainan caucus chairman Yen Chun-tso.

The Tainan caucus has also sent reports on the members involved to the DPP's central committee, who will be following up according to party rules, said Yen.

Yen said a disciplinary decision will be announced after DPP members meet on Jan 11.

Justice

Responding to Lee's alleged vote-buying scandal, Kuomintang (KMT) Chairman Eric Chu said Taiwan's judicial system is mature and justice will be served.

Tainan Mayor William Lai said that he hopes prosecutors and the judicial unit can reveal the truth in order to return justice and dignity to Tainan.

He also hopes Lee can bravely face the law, said Lai.

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