Illegal remittances, falsehoods undermine electoral integrity: premier

11/01/2018 07:59 PM
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Premier Lai Ching-te (賴清德)
Premier Lai Ching-te (賴清德)

Taipei, Nov. 1 (CNA) Premier Lai Ching-te (賴清德) on Thursday identified illegal remittances of money from outside Taiwan and the spreading of falsehoods as two tactics being adopted to influence the outcome of the elections later this month.

He instructed related authorities to ensure the fairness, integrity and security of the electoral process.

Lai made the remarks at a weekly Cabinet meeting where preparations for the combined "nine-in-one" elections and 10 referendums on Nov. 24 were discussed, the Executive Yuan said in a statement.

At the meeting, both the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) and the National Police Agency (NPA) presented briefings about cases currently being investigated relating to suspected vote-buying, campaign violence, gang involvement, underground election related gambling, dissemination of misinformation and illegal remittances, according to their reports which were made available to reporters.

The MOJ said it has detected and seized illegal remittances made through underground channels worth NT$32.1 billion (US$1.03 billion) from Sept.15-30.

Initial probes into 30 cases of illegal remittances identified 76 people, 15 of whom have been detained by prosecutors for further investigation, according to the MOJ.

The remittances were sent from various locations, including Xiamen and Guangdong in China, Hong Kong, Macau, Thailand, the Philippines, Cambodia, Vietnam, South Korea, Malaysia and Singapore, the MOJ said.

Deputy Justice Minister Chen Ming-tang (陳明堂) declined to speculate on whether China was behind the money allegedly to be used for campaign activities.

Given the difficulty of tracking illegal remittances, the ministry has yet to determine how many transactions have been made from China, Chen said at a press conference following the Cabinet meeting.

Meanwhile, the NPA is currently investigating 56 cases of alleged dissemination of misinformation involving 63 people who could face criminal charges under Civil Servants Election And Recall Act and Criminal Code, according to the agency.

Lai asked related authorities to coordinate their efforts and crack down on illegal activities aimed at influencing the elections.

Ensuring the electoral integrity the public expects requires an all-out effort from all related agencies -- including the police, prosecutors, investigators, anti-corruption law enforcement bodies and ethics agencies -- to detect and prevent any illegal interference in the election process, Lai said at the Cabinet meeting.

(By Shih Hsiu-chuan)


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