The Taipei District Court on Monday sentenced jail term to five Taiwanese businesspeople working in China, who were found guilty of taking money from Chinese authorities to buy votes for Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidate Han Kuo-yu in the 2020 presidential election.
As per the investigation, the Taiwanese businessmen were organizing gatherings and banquets to convince Taiwanese in Hunan to support the KMT and Han's presidential campaign in late 2019, including offering to pay their airfares, reported Taipei Times.
In their largest election event, the defendants on December 21, 2019, organized a year-end banquet for Taiwanese at Changsha's Huatian Hotel, where they instructed attendees to buy tickets to fly home to vote for Han and other KMT candidates on January 11, 2020, and showed them how to obtain 1,500 yuan to pay for the cost of the airfares, the investigation showed, reported Taipei Times.
Documents showed that 467 Taiwanese who attended the event applied for the money, prosecutors said, reported Taipei Times.
Lin and the defendants gave "bribes" in exchange for votes for specific candidates and breached the Presidential and Vice Presidential Election and Recall Act, the ruling said.
The Taipei District Court sentenced the Association of Taiwan Investment Enterprises Changsha City Branch chairman Lin Huai to three years and 10 months in jail, with deprivation of his civil rights for four years.
The other four convicted in the case, who all received 20-month prison terms, were China New Family Association chairwoman Chiang Ming-sia, Hunan Shaoyang City Association in Taiwan director Chang Kuo-chun, Hengyang-based businessman Chuang Huan-chang and Chinese Women's Federation deputy secretary Shen Bin, who had conducted business in Hunan, reported Taipei Times.
The probe found that funding for the scheme came from Huang Daonian, director of the Economic Bureau at Changsha City's Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO).
The Changsha City Government and the local TAO allocated 3.5 million yuan (USD 551,268) to support subsidies for Taiwanese to return home to vote, with Lin applying for and receiving about 1.49 million yuan, the investigation found, reported Taipei Times.
Huang allegedly told his staff to assist Lin and other Taiwanese businesspeople in applying for funds and obtaining registered lists of Taiwanese living in Hunan, prosecutors said.
After learning of the sentences, Han's office yesterday said that he was unaware of the events and that his election campaign headquarters did not receive any funds from those involved, reported Taipei Times.
China claims Taiwan as its own territory and has stepped up military and political pressure to force the democratically ruled island to accept Chinese sovereignty, even though most Taiwanese have shown no interest in being governed by Beijing. (ANI)