Military prosecutors yesterday named the former 542nd Brigade commander, Major General Shen Wei-chih (沈威志), as a defendant in the investigation into the death of army corporal Hung Chung-chiu (洪仲丘). Hung died on July 4, following physical exercises he had been forced to do as part of his punishment while confined to detention barracks.
Shen, who approved the disciplinary action for Hung, was charged with Offenses Against Abandonment (妨害自由罪), prosecutors said, adding that Shen has hired a lawyer.
Hung’s family had said Shen received a text message from Hung asking for help before he was placed in confinement, but Shen did not respond.
A lawyer for the Hung family, Chiu Hsien-chih (邱顯智), said Hung’s Body Mass Index (BMI) was 33 so he should not have been placed in confinement according to military regulations, but Shen approved the punishment and may have serious questions to answer concerning Hung’s death.
Meanwhile, military prosecutors yesterday morning conducted a simulation of Hung’s drills and the emergency treatment given to him at the 569th Brigade’s detention center in Taoyuan County.
Personnel responsible for supervising soldiers in confinement and three soldiers who were in confinement with Hung took part in the simulation, military prosecutors said.
Hung’s family and attorneys were allowed to watch the simulation, said Wellington Koo (顧立雄), head of the legal team representing the family of the 24-year-old soldier.
The military court said it also invited Hung’s uncle and sister to witness the simulation, which lasted from 9am to about 2pm.
Tsao Chin-sheng (曹金生), chief military prosecutor general, said before entering the base at about 11am that he hoped the simulation would help investigators reveal the truth of the case as soon as possible.
Tsao said that the military court has been negotiating closely with the Taoyuan District Prosecutors’ Office and has obtained data from another simulation that was conducted by the office a few days ago.
The Taoyuan District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday also questioned Staff Sergeant Fan Tso-hsien (范佐憲) about the loss of a portion of a surveillance video that may have offered insights into Hung’s death.
Fan, who has been detained by the Military High Court, is believed to be a key figure in the case.