Businessman returns to Taiwan for questioning after stay in Hong Kong A Taiwanese man thought to be the key figure behind an alleged vote-buying scandal that contributed to the narrow defeat of an opposition mayoral candidate in Kaohsiung surrendered to police yesterday. Yang Ching-teh, 43, a businessman in the recycling sector, turned himself in after spending six days in Hong Kong, police said. 'We have turned him over to prosecutors for further investigation,' said a Kaohsiung policeman who questioned Mr Yang for more than three hours. He said Mr Yang had agreed to return to Taiwan to help authorities clarify his role in the scandal blamed for the defeat of Kuomintang candidate Huang Chun-ying, front-runner in the December 9 Kaohsiung mayoral polls. The allegations of vote buying emerged when Mr Huang's opponent, Chen Chu of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, held a news conference shortly after all campaign activities were required to stop at 10pm on December 8. Mr Huang's camp believes the allegations were to blame for the defeat of the KMT candidate, who lost to Ms Chen by a wafer-thin margin of 0.14 per cent, or 1,114 votes. Mr Huang later sued Ms Chen for libel and violating the election law, and also applied for a recount and nullification of the election results. Mr Yang flew to Hong Kong last Wednesday after two men who allegedly worked for him were arrested. The pair, Ku Hsin-ming and Tsai Nung-hsiang, told investigators they had acted on Mr Yang's instructions. Mr Tsai told them he was asked by Mr Ku to distribute NT$500 (HK$119.28) to each supporter mobilised to stump for Mr Huang at a campaign rally. Mr Ku said he was paid by Mr Yang to hire two tour buses to take the supporters to the rally and reward them. He said another businessman, Su Wan-chi, was the mastermind behind the scandal, but Mr Su later told prosecutors he never asked Mr Yang to pay the supporters. Mr Huang's defeat has ruined KMT chairman Ma Ying-jeou's hopes of extending his influence to southern Taiwan. Most analysts said that Mr Ma, the outgoing Taipei mayor, was the big loser in the mayoral polls in both Kaohsiung and Taipei as he had tried to turn the race into a vote of confidence in him and a vote of no confidence in beleaguered President Chen Shui-bian. Although the KMT won in Taipei city, its share of the vote dropped by five percentage points from four years ago. Mr Ma, who is still the opposition's best chance for the 2008 presidential election, yesterday also saw his performance rating as mayor drop to 61 per cent from last year's 73 per cent. The survey, released by the Taipei-based United Daily News, said Mr Ma's rating put him in seventh place this year from first place last year. Meanwhile, the image of the ruling DPP has been further dented by reports that two party legislators, Gao Jyh-peng and Yu Jan-daw, and presidential aide Kuo Wen-pin had visited a Taipei guesthouse staffed by women working as escorts. Presidential deputy secretary-general Tso Yung-tai said yesterday that the Presidential Office was investigating the allegations, especially as it was found the guesthouse owner had been awarded a contract by the office. The officials admitted visiting the guesthouse but said they did not make use of the women's services.