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Woman under investigation for extortion of KMT lawmaker
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-02-19 02:51 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – A woman was detained last month for trying to extort NT$20 million (US$660,000) from Kuomintang lawmaker Yen Kuan-heng over alleged vote-buying, police said Wednesday.

Chinese-language Next Magazine reported in its latest edition that a woman claiming to be a former lover of Yen’s father-in-law had sent a letter and a disc asking for the money in return for evidence of vote-buying by Yen during last year’s by-election. Yen won the vote in a Taichung City district after his father, prominent independent Yen Ching-piao, was sentenced to prison for misuse of public funds.

Police said Wednesday they first received a report about the incident late last year. They went to arrest the 38-year-old woman surnamed Hou at her home on January 15. She admitted having blackmailed and threatened Yen during questioning in Changhua County, police said. Prosecutors wanted to free her on bail of NT$30,000 (US$990), but when only NT$20,000 (US$660) was found in her bank account, they cut the amount to the lower sum, reports said.

The disc she sent did not contain any information about vote buying, Taichung police said. Hou, a mother of three children, was reportedly involved in a financial dispute with Yen’s father-in-law. The disc featured a conversation between the two about the election and about the local election culture in general, according to Next Magazine. The publication said the woman alleged that Yen’s family spent NT$200 million to win the vote, a rare by-election win for the KMT amid poor opinion polls.

Yen himself was not available for comment, and his office aides in Taichung said he was up in Taipei for legislative work. They did not want to comment because the case was already in the hands of the judiciary, reports said. The lawmaker’s entourage denied he had bought votes.

The Presidential Office said it had also received two letters last month making vote-buying accusations against Yen, but it did not contain any evidence or any recordings. Officials reportedly phoned the person who had mailed the letters and gave the advice to contact the judicial authorities.

Hou reportedly planned the extortion after Yen’s father-in-law was trying to end his relationship with her.

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