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14 indicted for Terry Gou presidential campaign signature buying

01/18/2024 08:46 PM
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A signature collection office set up in Xindian District, New Taipei, by Gou's campaign office. CNA file photo for illustrative purpose only
A signature collection office set up in Xindian District, New Taipei, by Gou's campaign office. CNA file photo for illustrative purpose only

Taipei, Jan. 18 (CNA) A Taipei businessman and 13 other suspects were indicted Thursday by prosecutors for allegedly buying signatures for business tycoon Terry Gou (郭台銘) to help him reach the required number of endorsements needed to run in Taiwan's Jan. 13 presidential election.

According to the indictment released by the Shihlin District Prosecutors Office, the signature buying drive was started by a renowned Beitou hot spring tycoon, identified only by his last name Chen (陳).

The indictment stated that Chen entrusted several people, including a close female friend surnamed Shen (沈), to help buy signatures for Gou at NT$500 (US$3.22) each.

About 600 signatures were subsequently collected from Sept. 19 to Oct. 19, 2023, prosecutors said.

One of the suspects, a man surnamed Shih (石), learned about the petition drive from Shen, but instead of paying people, he stole the profile names of Facebook users and faked their signatures, prosecutors said.

Shih provided a total of 48 forged signatures, they added.

The indictment, according to prosecutors, included suspected contraventions of the Presidential and Vice Presidential Election and Recall Act, the Personal Data Protection Act, and document forgery under the Criminal Code.

In addition to the 14 indicted suspects, nine other individuals were given a one-year deferred prosecution due to their minor roles in the case, prosecutors said, indicating that all nine have been fined between NT$20,000 and NT$100,000.

(By Hsieh Hsin-en and Ko Lin)

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