3 people hospitalized after eating colorful laundry pods that candidate in Taiwan handed out

A presidential candidate in Taiwan may have just stained his campaign after his swag giveaway — colorful laundry detergent pods — sent three people to the hospital. Apparently, the victims — at least two who are over 80-years-old — weren't familiar with the candy-colored pouches of soap and mistook them for sweet treats.

The candidate, Hou Yu-ih of the right-wing Kuomintang (KMT) party, had handed out 460,000 pods in bags that also came with a message: "Vote for No. 3" (the third spot on the ballot). It also said that each pod could handle 18 pounds of clothes, but obviously, not everybody got the memo. And now a campaign official is apologizing.

"In the next wave of house-to-house visits, we will not distribute this kind of campaign material," Hung said on video, according to ABC News. "We will also stress to our villagers through our grassroots organizations that they are laundry balls, not candies."

From ABC News:

Those hospitalized included an 80-year-old man and an 86-year-old woman who were released after having their stomachs flushed, the news agency said. The Nationalist Party is also known by its Chinese name, Kuomintang, or KMT.

Hou is running against William Lai of the governing Democratic Progressive Party and Ko Wen-je of the Taiwan People's Party in Saturday's election. The vote is being closely watched in both Beijing and Washington. China claims Taiwan as part of its territory, while the U.S. sells arms to the self-governing island to defend against any attack.