Tainan City Council speaker, deputy released on bail in vote-buying probe

Tainan City Council Speaker Chiu Li-li (???) and Deputy Speaker Lin Chih-chan (???) were released on bail early Wednesday after being charged with vote-buying offenses along with nine others.

Prosecutors brought the suspects in for questioning Tuesday after a multiagency task force executed a series of search warrants on 26 locations, including the homes of Chiu and Lin.

Chiu and Lin, both from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), were released after posting bail of NT$500,000 (US$16,279.5) and NT$200,000 (US$6511.79), respectively, according to prosecutors.

Prosecutors said they were first tipped off to attempts to manipulate the result of the election for Tainan City Council’s leadership positions in November.

On Dec. 25, Chiu defeated incumbent Speaker Kuo Hsin-liang (???) in a 36-21 vote, in which then-Kuomintang (KMT) councilors Li Wen-chun (???), Chang Shih-hsieng (???), and Li Chen-kuo (???) broke party ranks to back the DPP nominee.

Li Wen-chun, Chang Shih-hsieng, and Li Chen-kuo — who were expelled from the KMT for defying the whip — as well as Independent Tainan City Councilor Huang Li-chao (???), a woman surnamed Huang (?), and a woman surnamed Kao (?), were also released on bail following questioning.

Two others — former DPP Central Executive Committee member Kuo Tsai-chin (???) and a man surnamed Yang (?) — were denied bail and are currently being held by prosecutors.

Meanwhile, Tainan City Fisheries Association Director-General Lin Shih-chieh (???), who was also listed as a defendant, did not show up after being summoned for questioning, prosecutors said.

The prosecutor’s office said Wednesday that Lin, a former DPP member, would be arrested and detained if he failed to appear.

Lin, who has past convictions for firearms offenses, is currently under investigation for threatening KMT Tainan City Councilor Fang Yi-feng (???) ahead of the election.

Prosecutors had previously questioned Lin on Dec. 23, 2020. He was released on bail of NT$50,000 and left the DPP shortly afterward.

Separately on Wednesday, acting DPP Chairperson and incumbent Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chi-mai (???) said the ruling party’s Ethics Committee would launch its own probe into party members linked to the incident.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel