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Cablegate: Alleged Vote-Buying Already Rampant in the Lead Up

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

190631Z Oct 05

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TAIPEI 004235

SIPDIS

DEPT PASS AIT/WASHINGTON
DEPT FOR EAP/TC, INR/EAP

FROM AIT KAOHSIUNG BRANCH OFFICE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL TW
SUBJECT: Alleged Vote-buying Already Rampant in the lead up
to the December 3, 2005, "3 in 1 Elections"

Ref: TAIPEI 4144

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED. PLEASE PROTECT ACCORDINGLY.

1. (U) On October 5, 2005, more than 200 prosecutors,
police and investigative authorities searched the campaign
offices of Soong Li-hua, an Independent candidate running
for Pingtung County magistrate, as well as the residences of
Soong's supporters and campaign workers. Carrying out
searches based on allegations of vote-buying, the
authorities discovered raffle prizes including televisions,
refrigerators, air conditioners and bicycles that were given
away to supporters at parties hosted by Soong's campaign
aides beginning from June 2005. Seventy-seven of Soong's
campaign aides and supporters were interviewed. Authorities
detained one of Soong's core campaign staff.

2. (SBU) Soong Li-hua is the wife of incumbent Pingtung
independent legislator Tsai Hao. Soong reported to the
Pingtung Prosecutor's Office on October 13, 2005, where she
was charged with vote-buying and was released on bail of NTD
one million (USD 29,8500). Soong issued a statement that
she did not commit vote-buying and that she would not
withdraw from the election. She also questioned the amount
of bail, which she believed had been set too high. Local
prosecutors, however, pointed out to AIT Kaohsiung that 75
refrigerators were found in her personal office, suggesting
she must have known about them.

3. (U) Despite her arrest, polls conducted by Eastern
Television (ETTV) on October 11, 2005, in Pingtung show an
increase in Soong's rate of support, which now stands at
13.2 per cent. Her support rate in the last poll from late
September was only 8.29 percent.

4. (SBU) This is the first large-scale case of vote-buying
lodged against a magisterial candidate in southern Taiwan
during the 3 in 1 elections. In talking with a variety of
prosecutors AIT/K learned the status of vote-buying
investigations and cases as a result of the upcoming
elections is already high. Most of the investigations
surround allegations of vote-buying in the form of meals,
entertainment, or travel. Prosecutors indicate that
indictments will never be brought in most of these cases.

5. (SBU) As of October 17, 2005, in southern Taiwan the
running tally of election corruption cases emerging from the
upcoming "3 in 1" elections stands as follows:

Pingtung police have received 64 complaints. Of these,
60 are under informal investigation by the county police
and four have been referred to prosecutors for formal
investigation. No indictments have yet been brought.

Kaohsiung police have received 42 complaints. Of these,
39 are under informal investigation by the county police
and three have been referred to prosecutors for formal
investigation. Indictments have been brought in two
cases against four persons.

Tainan police have received 205 complaints. Of these,
193 are under informal investigation by the county police
and twelve have been referred to prosecutors for formal
investigation. Indictments have been brought in two
cases against twenty-six persons.

Chiayi police have received 40 complaints. Of these, 35
are under informal investigation by county police and
five have been referred to prosecutors for formal
investigation. Indictments have been brought in one case
against twenty-six persons.

Taitung police have received 34 complaints. Of these, 33
are under informal investigation by county police and one
has been referred to prosecutors for formal
investigation. No indictments have yet been brought.

Penghu police have received 179 complaints. Of these, 56
are under informal investigation by county police and 123
have has been referred to prosecutors for formal
investigation. No indictments have yet been brought.

6. (U) AIT/K was unable to obtain numbers for Yunlin County.

THIELE
PAAL

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