Tainan City Council speaker released on NT$15 mil. bail
Tainan City Council Speaker Lee Chuan-chiao ( ) was bailed for NT$15 million by Tainan District Court yesterday after being indicted by prosecutors for buying votes the day before.
Lee, along with Tainan City Council member Kuo Hsiu-chu and six other people, was indicted on Thursday on charges of buying votes, alleged actions that prosecutors said led to Lee’s victory in the city council’s speakership election last December.
Lee is aligned to the ruling Kuomintang while Kuo was elected on an independent ticket.
The Tainan District Prosecutors Office said that Lee offered to pay bribes of NT$300,000 ( US$9,632) to NT$10 million to each of six city council members, via a number of middlemen, to secure their votes in the speaker and vice speaker elections.
Six of the alleged middlemen were prosecuted along with Lee on Thursday.
Prosecutors said their case against Lee is backed by evidence obtained in raids on the suspects’ homes and offices in February and March.
The evidence includes the records of about 75 mobile phone numbers and footage from more than 20 closed circuit TV locations, prosecutors said, adding that about 100 witnesses and suspects will be summoned in the case.
The prosecutors, who took Lee into custody during the investigation, referred him to the Tainan District Court for trial after filing the indictment against him. The court ordered Lee’s release on bail of NT$15 million (US$445,691) Thursday evening.
Last December, Lee was elected speaker of the 57-seat Tainan City Council on which his party held 16 seats against the opposition Democratic Progressive Party’s 28.
The KMT also won city council speaker seats in four of the country’s other five other municipalities last year on the heels of its resounding defeat in the country-wide local government elections on Nov. 29. Tainan Mayor Lai Ching-te ( ) of the DPP has supported calls for an investigation into alleged corruption in the city council election.