The Ministry of National Defense yesterday downplayed an alleged attempt by an insider to blackmail the armaments chief, saying that the case was under investigation.
“The case is not about blackmail — as reported by a local newspaper — but rather about a grassroots staffer wanting to push for an improvement in internal weapons management,” ministry spokesman Yu Sy-tue (虞思祖) said in response to a story in the Chinese-language China Times, which said the scandal-ridden Armaments Bureau had been humiliated again because its boss had received a death threat.
The paper said Lieutenant General Chen Li-chia (陳立嘉) received a letter along with a bullet earlier this month and the sender said he had two cases of bullets that he could use to embarrass Chen at any time.
It was the first time that a senior military officer had received a bullet threat, the paper said, speculating that the letter writer might be a bureau staffer angered over staffing arrangements in the bureau’s manufacturing division.
Yu said the newspaper had exaggerated the situation.
“The case was not about blackmail, but rather about a petition,” he said, adding that the sender was a disgruntled staff member at a military supply factory.
He denied that two cases of bullets had been removed from a factory in southern Taiwan.
“The suspect wrote in the letter that the bullet was meant to threaten or intimidate the bureau chief, but to remind him that there was room for improvement in the bureau’s control and administration of its arsenal,” Yu said.
The ministry, however, did not take the bullet lightly or treat the letter as a rational petition, Yu said, adding that Minister of National Defense Chen Chao-min (陳肇敏) had ordered a special task force to investigate the case.
The case was referred to the Kaohsiung branch of the Military Prosecutors Office on July 8 for a thorough investigation, Yu said.