After protests and a public outcry over the death of conscript Hung Chung-chiu (洪仲丘), President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday visited Hung’s family in Greater Taichung, promising to speed up the investigation and punish those responsible for his death.
“We will definitely get to the bottom of this case and uncover the truth... The government won’t tolerate any similar incidents,” Ma said at Hung’s family home.
Accompanied by Ministry of National Defense personnel, Ma arrived at Hung’s home at 1:25pm and conveyed his condolences to the deceased soldier’s family.
Hung’s sister, Hung Tzu-yung (洪慈庸), accused the ministry and investigators of keeping the family in the dark and urged Ma to hand over the case to an “impartial third party” for further investigation.
“Over the past 16 days since my brother died, the military and investigators refused to tell us anything about the investigation process. We’ve been kept in the dark, and who can understand my parents’ suffering?” she said.
“We cannot help but wonder whether there has been collusion between those involved in the case,” she added.
Hung Chung-chiu’s case has sparked a public outcry over his possible abuse and a flawed disciplinary process that landed him in confinement in the first place.
Hung Chung-chiu was placed in detention barracks on June 28 for violating a regulation against bringing a cellphone with a camera onto his base in Hsinchu.
During his detainment, he was put through physically demanding exercises as part of his punishment, and collapsed on July 3 after completing strenuous drills in sweltering heat despite complaining that he was in distress.
He was sent to a hospital in Hsinchu County and later transferred to Taipei’s Tri-Service General Hospital, where he died the next day.
Ma yesterday instructed the ministry to give the Hung family an update on the case, but without compromising information which could affect the investigation.
He also vowed that the Ministry of Justice and the Investigation Bureau would assist the Military High Court in examining evidence related to the case.
“The military exists to protect the nation, and military discipline must be strictly followed. We will tolerate no abuses of power,” he said.
Minister of National Defense Kao Hua-chu (高華柱) paid a separate visit to the Hung family yesterday.
During his second visit to the family, Kao pledged that his ministry would cooperate with the family and the public in the investigation. He promised that there would be no delay in justice and that the authorities would not hide any mistakes made by the military.
Additional reporting by CNA