Wed, Mar 09, 2016 - Page 1 News List

MND demotes officers involved in illegal search

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Taipei Military Police Station commander Colonel Lu Cheng-fang, left, and Political Warfare Bureau Security Division head Major General Chao Tai-chuan, right, attend a meeting in an undated photograph.

Photo: CNA

The Ministry of National Defense (MND) yesterday announced the initial punishment of demotions and job transfers for two officers who are now under judicial investigation by prosecutors for their roles in a warrantless military police of a private residence for documents reportedly relating to the White Terror era.

Political Warfare Bureau Security Division head Major General Chao Tai-chuan (趙代川) was removed from his post and transferred to Army Command Headquarters, while Taipei Military Police Station commander Colonel Lu Cheng-fang (呂正芳) was transferred to Military Police Command Headquarters to serve as an advisory officer.

The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday afternoon summoned Lu and Military Security Brigade head Colonel Wang Shih-wei (汪世偉) for questioning over their conduct in the case.

Chao and Lu were the commanding officers of their units when they contacted a man surnamed Wei (魏), who was allegedly offering three White Terror-era investigation documents for sale online. They detained Wei for questioning and executed a search of his residence last month without contacting or receiving authorization from public prosecutors.

The two officers’ demotions were the first round of punishment, said ministry spokesman Major General David Lo (羅紹和), who promised that all military personnel involved in the case would fully cooperate with the ongoing judicial investigation.

“Further disciplinary measures are to be announced within a week, pending the outcome of an internal investigation being carried out in the ministry, following Minister of Defense Kao Kuang-chi’s (高廣圻) pledge to do so at Monday’s legislative session,” Lo said.

In response to demands by legislators to curtail military police’s functions and even calls to disband the unit completely, Lo defended the military police, saying they played important roles in law enforcement and investigations of military personnel, protection and security for top government offices, and support of judicial agencies in criminal investigations.

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said at a public appearance that he has been in constant contact with Premier Simon Chang (張善政) regarding the case, adding: “I established principles on how the case was to be handled, which were: conduct a full investigation, get to the truth, punish offenders and undertake corrective measures.”

“Military police are an outstanding branch of our armed forces. They have roles as judicial police officers under the scope of the Code of Criminal Procedure (刑事訴訟法) allowing them to investigate criminal matters. However, their actions were clearly out of line in this case, as they entered a civilian residence to conduct an investigation,” Ma said.

“I hope the public can view this matter in a calm manner. While some military personal have committed transgressions, the public should remember that our armed forces have always been the first on scene to carry out rescue and relief efforts after disasters, sacrificing their rest on those occasions,” Ma said. “We should not paint everyone with the same brush just because of a few bad apples.”

Meanwhile, ministry officials said major military exercises are to take place next month, in August, October and November, which are to incorporate: computer-assisted command post simulations; war games involving all branches of the armed forces; joint operations with live-fire combat, anti-missile defense and anti-amphibious landing exercises; and other field training drills.

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