Tue, Feb 24, 2009 - Page 3 News List

MND gives apology following officers’ prostitution scandal

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Ministry of National Defense (MND) yesterday apologized for a prostitution scandal involving 11 officers.

“We are sorry and apologize to the public for this incident. We will come up with proper punishment for military personnel involved in this case,” the military said in a press release. “However, the total number of crimes or violations [by military personnel] declined since last year.”

The Chinese-language Apple Daily News said yesterday that 11 officers from the Air Force, Army and Navy, ranking from petty officer to lieutenant, had employed the services of three teenage prostitutes since October.

The story said that in October a Navy ensign and “Hsiao Chen” (小真) became friends in an Internet chat room. The ensign and Hsiao Chen had their first encounter shortly afterwards, the story said.

The ensign then began to tell his military colleagues about Hsiao Chen.

As a growing number of his colleagues began to visit the girl, 17-year-old Hsiao Chen invited her friends “Hsiao Hui” (小蕙) and “Hsiao Ya” (小雅), also 17, to get involved. The story came to light after Kaohsiung police raided a motel and discovered an Army officer and “Hsiao Chen” naked in a room.

Police later discovered that many other military personnel were involved in the prostitution ring through Hsiao Chen’s cellphone.

They forwarded the case to the ministry, which talked to around 27 people, 11 of whom were involved in the case.

The MND said that once convicted, the 11 would lose their positions.

“The case is now being investigated and the ministry will help prosecutors wrap up the investigation as soon as possible,” the press release read.

Asked for comment, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾) expressed disappointment.

“I am shocked and disappointed ... this [scandal] has had a negative impact on the image [of our military],” she said.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY FLORA WANG

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