Taiwan arrests 130 on alleged vote-buying

TAIPEI, Friday 26 November 2010 (AFP) - At least 130 people have been taken into custody on allegations of vote-buying ahead of the weekend's local elections, the justice ministry said Friday.

The ministry was investigating 2,795 cases as of Thursday, which led to the arrests as well as the indictment of 35 people in 11 separate cases, it said in a statement.

"The ministry will persist to the end to actively collect evidence and thoroughly investigate so that vote buyers will not get away with it," it said.

Vote-buying is rampant, critics argue, and local media said some candidates allegedly offered up to 5,000 Taiwan dollars (163 US) in exchange for one vote.

Meanwhile, two college students could face up to three years in jail for trying to sell their votes for 500 Taiwan dollars each on social networking site Facebook, although they claimed they were only joking.

Residents in five big cities across the island will elect mayors and councillors on Saturday, seen as a key indicator of voting intentions for the nationwide 2012 presidential vote.

MySinchew 2010.11.26