Posted : 2012-02-22 19:17
Updated : 2012-02-22 19:17

Farmers caught in illegal electioneering fined

By Kim Rahn

Some 20 residents in a farming village will each have to pay 1.6 million won ($1,420) in fines for eating at the opening ceremony for an office of a party-nominee hopeful ahead of the April parliamentary election.

The Election Commission in North Gyeongsang Province said Wednesday that 23 people in Bonghwa County were treated to food and alcohol while participating in the event held by the prospective lawmaker for the region, which violates the election law.

It also filed a complaint with the prosecution against another villager who provided them with transportation and the food on behalf of the nominee hopeful.

By law, those receiving money, meals, books or other items related to an election are subject to fines from 10 to 50 times the money or value of the items given.

On Feb. 11, the unidentified villager enticed his neighbors to go to neighboring Uljin County, saying his friend had started a restaurant and there would be an opening party. Twenty-three residents agreed to go.

On a chartered bus to Uljin, they had rice cake and liquor worth about 110,000 won. After arriving, they had sashimi worth 640,000 won for lunch at the restaurant. Then the villager led them to the office opening.

They couldn’t help but follow him as they had to take the chartered bus again to go back home.

After participating in the ceremony, they returned home and were offered “galbitang” (beef rib soup) worth 345,000 won for dinner.
In total, they were offered food worth about 1.5 million won.

Following a report, police confirmed their participation and decided to impose fines 30 to 50 times the value of the food. Some residents who encouraged others to join in and cut the tape during the office opening ceremony have to pay 50 times the value.

The villagers will have to pay 29 million won in total, 1.6 million won each on average. Six households have to pay about 4 million won each because both the husbands and wives took part in the event.

“It is regrettable that illegal electioneering cases follow one after another, such as offering money or food, while we have some 50 days to go until the general election. We’ll make all-out efforts to crack down on the illegalities,” an official for the commission said.

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