Taiwan’s Ministry of Justice said that cryptocurrencies may be used by politicians to bribe their way into office. The statement specifically mentioned Bitcoin and Ethereum, citing that the politicians seeking power in the 2024 election will likely try to induce voters by using these two cryptocurrencies.
A report by the China Times on Monday, July 4, said that the ministry is actively working with law enforcement agents in the country to prevent this scenario from taking place. The country’s ministry of Justice said that it is aware that the method of bribery is changing, and that virtual currencies such as BTC will play an active role as a bribery tool. The ministry said that it has already paid out 2.25 billion yuan to whistleblowers who reported cases of bribery in the country.
Electoral offences prosecutions
The Supreme Prosecutor’s office added that they have already prosecuted 1,335 bribery cases involving politicians. The most prominent among these are former KMT Central Standing Committee member Xiao Jingtian, Miaoli County Mayor Zhong Dongjin, Tainan City Council Speaker Qiu Lili, Deputy Speaker Lin Zhizhan. Of these, the report said that 719 persons were deferred.
A breakdown of the cases shows that 63 persons were prosecuted in Tainan in 49 bribery cases cases. Three individuals were tries for electoral violence, while another three individuals were prosecuted on deferred cases. Others were prosecuted for ghost populations and false information cases.
The report continued,
“In addition, procuratorial agencies across the country filed lawsuits against vote bribers for invalid elections, including Taipei City Councilor Lin Xinger and Miaoli County Magistrate Zhong Dongjin (192 cases, 193 people), four more cases than the previous nine-in-one election. The three cases were judged invalid by the court, and the national prosecutors confiscated a total of nearly 15 million yuan, which also set a record in previous years.”
An evolving method of bribing voters
The Justice Ministry stated that bribery methods are evolving and that politicians may no longer use cash but instead use digital payment tools such as BTC and ether. The spokesperson added that they’re also on the lookout for payment platforms such as LinePay, PiWallet, Jiekou, and others. It insists that law enforcement will work to prevent vote buying through these payment tools.