The Air Force Command Headquarters yesterday said that former Hengshan Command Headquarters director Chao Tai-chi (趙泰祺) was forced to retire on March 1 because of inappropriate conduct, two days after Banciao prosecutors named him as a suspect in a criminal investigation.
“Chao was asked to retire on March 1 because of inappropriate conduct, and the Air Force will help prosecutors in any investigation,” read a press release by the Air Force Headquarters.
The Air Force’s remarks came after Banciao prosecutors alleged on Tuesday that Chao accepted sexual services paid for by Lin Chih-chung (林治崇), who headed a group of businessmen who acted as middlemen for military contracts.
Lin was among 12 people indicted on Tuesday on charges of bribery and blackmail.
While prosecutors were investigating Lin’s connections with the military, they discovered that Chao was also involved, although Chao had denied it.
“We discovered that Chao went to a massage parlor with someone else picking up the tab. He told us that his friend paid and that he gave his friend the money afterwards,” said Cheng Hsin-hung (鄭鑫宏), spokesman for the Banciao District Prosecutors’ Office.
Cheng said that Chao never denied he had a relationship with Lin. Chao also told prosecutors that Lin often gave him gifts of fruit or wine, but he would always return them. He said he also told Lin “not to try to bribe him.”
In the wake of the prosecutors’ investigation, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) established a special task force on Wednesday to crack down on corruption in the military.
“We are not targeting specific individuals or any specific rank. But we will begin with high-ranking officials,” MND spokesman Major General Yu Sy-tue (虞思祖) said.
The Banciao prosecutors’ investigation showed that five generals, including Chao and retired lieutenant-general Yuan Hsiao-lung (袁肖龍) who was also indicted on corruption charges on Tuesday, and seven colonels were close to Lin. Prosecutors are assessing whether any of the other military officials were connected to the case.