Thu, Jan 19, 2006 - Page 2 News List

DPP lawmaker slams military's sloth, evasiveness

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

A former soldier, surnamed Hou, holds out his damaged hand, injured during a military training exercise when an explosion simulator went off, during a press conference yesterday. The explosion blew off two fingers and shattered the bones in his hand.

PHOTO: LIN CHENG-KUNG, TAIPEI TIMES

A delay in compensation for a soldier who was seriously injured during a military drill accident shows how inefficient the military is, a legislator claimed yesterday.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lin Kuo-ching (林國慶) yesterday invited the injured soldier, surnamed Hou, and several military officials to attend a press conference.

Lin said Hou was hurt last June when he took part in the army's 10th division drill. He was holding a stripped explosion simulator, used to make explosion sound effects during the simulated launch of the Tow missiles.

The simulator exploded, costing Hou two fingers on one hand, shattering the bones and damaging the nerves in the hand.

Lin said both the 10th division and the military-run Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology -- which produced the explosion simulator -- have evaded their responsibilities.

"The institute said the simulators contain little gunpowder and are almost impossible to explode without igniting them. It also said that all the simulators used in the drill met the standards," Lin said.

"The 10th division claimed the drill was error-free," Lin said.

Since both the army and the institute have denied any responsibility, an investigation report into the incident is still incomplete, leaving Hou in an intolerable situation, Lin said.

Without a finished report, the military has said it cannot decide on compensation.

"This story shows how inefficient the military is," Lin said.

Hou said that he is the only male in his single-parent family and his younger sister is mentally impaired.

"I just left the army and am unlikely to find a normal job due to my handicap, but I have received no compensation from the army," he said.

Officials from the army and the institute who attended yesterday's press conference said their agencies had not erred in the incident.

A vice chief of the 10th division, Rear Admiral Lo Ming-sheng (羅銘昇), promised the military would wrap-up its investigation and Hou would hopefully receive NT$2 million (US$59,700) in compensation.

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