(Bloomberg) -- Authorities in Taiwan carried out raids and questioned a group of people on suspicion they were buying votes on behalf of China in Saturday’s island-wide election.
Law-enforcement officers searched four locations and detained three people using warrants issued under the Anti-Infiltration Act, which was passed in late 2019 and bars “foreign hostile forces” from interfering in elections, Taiwan’s semi-official Central News Agency reported Thursday.
Prosecutors have said that evidence seized during a raid earlier this month linked to the same group indicated that funding from China was being funneled to candidates, said CNA, which receives financial backing from the Taiwan government.
CNA didn’t name the suspects or say which candidates were involved. The Taiwan Affairs Office, China’s government body for handling ties with the democratically run island that Beijing has pledged to reclaim one day, didn’t respond to a request for comment.
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Taiwan voters head to the polls Saturday to pick mayors and county leaders in a race that both the Kuomintang and Democratic Progressive Party hope will give them an early edge for the next presidential election in 2024. President Tsai Ing-wen will have to step down after serving two four-year terms.
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The Anti-Infiltration Act prohibits certain political donations and lobbying, interfering in elections and disrupting the public on orders from outside Taiwan. The law is largely aimed at China, which officials in Taipei have accused of running disinformation campaigns targeting the island’s 23 million people.
--With assistance from Jing Li.
©2022 Bloomberg L.P.
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