Thu, Feb 28, 2019 - Page 1 News List

Colonel punished for leaving classified plans on YouBike

By Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff writer, with CNA

Ministry of National Defense spokesman Major General Chen Chung-chi addresses a news conference at the ministry in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Hsu Chu-min, Taipei Times

A colonel who was a deputy section chief at the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology left classified documents on a planned rocket in the basket of a Taipei rental bicycle has been given a major demerit and moved to another position, the Ministry of National Defense said yesterday.

After attending a meeting at the ministry in Taipei’s Dazhi (大直) area, the colonel, surnamed Hsieh (謝), rode a YouBike to the Dazhi MRT Station, but forgot to take the classified documents when parking the bike, ministry spokesman Major General Chen Chung-chi (陳中吉) told a news conference in Taipei.

The next user of the bike happened to be a military police and finance officer surnamed Tseng (曾) who was headed to the ministry for a meeting, he said.

After discovering the classified documents, Tseng immediately delivered them to the ministry’s security division, which then launched an investigation, he said.

The division found that the documents had not passed into other people’s hands or been leaked, and ordered the institute to review and penalize anyone involved in the misconduct, he said, calling it a case of personal negligence.

Hsieh received a major demerit and was moved to another position, and supervisors involved received demerits or warnings, he said, adding that Tseng was recognized for recovering the documents.

Minister of National Defense Yen De-fa (嚴德發) has also asked the institute to review its classified information protocol, Chen said, adding that he hopes the incident would serve as a learning opportunity and remind military members to stay alert.

Local media reported that the incident occurred at the end of last year and that the documents contained information about a project code-named “Chi Lin” (麒麟) involving the development of low-earth orbit rockets to be used for delivery.

Also at the news conference, Chen rejected speculation that the frequency with which US warships pass through the Taiwan Strait has increased.

The waters surrounding Taiwan have always been busy international waters, he said, adding that the military has a firm grasp on the passage of foreign vessels and aircraft near Taiwan.

The ministry usually waits until missions are complete before announcing them to the public, he said, calling it the responsible way to handle such matters.

On Tuesday, the ministry confirmed that a US Navy warship and supply ship had on Monday sailed northward through the Strait.

It was the second such passage this year, and the fifth since July last year, the ministry said.

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