Thu, Oct 04, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Minister defends military following recent scandals

FIGHTING TALK In the aftermath of a number of embarrassing incidents, Lee Tien-yu said 99 percent of armed service personnel were dedicated and law-abiding

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Minister of National Defense Lee Tien-yu (李天羽) yesterday vowed to take action in the aftermath of a spate of scandals that have affected the military.

Lee also rebutted allegations that the scandals reflected a breakdown in military discipline.

"We welcome everyone to disclose any irregularities in relation to the military," Lee said in a visit to the People First Party (PFP) legislative caucus to discuss the ministry's budget yesterday.

A few cases should not be used to judge the entire military as "99 percent of armed forces personnel are dedicated, law-abiding citizens," he said.

His comments come after an orderly at Chief of General Staff Huo Shou-yeh's (霍守業) office was found to have failed to follow the standard shredding procedure for destroying confidential papers by sending them to paper pulp plants. Instead he sold the shredded paper to a recycling business.

Also, three officials with the ministry's Armaments Bureau were detained by Keelung prosecutors on Tuesday on suspicion of receiving bribes from businessmen to help them win tenders.

And a report published in yesterday's Chinese-language Apple Daily said that a lieutenant colonel with the Army Logistics School was forced to leave the army for secretly taking a photograph of a female officer taking a shower.

Commenting on the kickback scandal, Lee said he would continue efforts to straighten out the Armaments Bureau.

"I have reshuffled the bureau's personnel several times since I assumed office," Lee said in response to a question by PFP Legislator Chao Liang-yen (趙良燕).

Lee said the scandal over the picture of the female officer had tarnished the military's image, but it was unfair to interpret the matter as a deterioration in military discipline.

"That was just personal conduct of a few black sheep, and it happened half a year ago. You can't regard this as universal behavior in the army," he said.

The ministry will not be lenient in punishing military personnel who break the rules and the public should not criticize the military because of the recent lapses, he said.

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