Tue, Jul 19, 2011 - Page 3 News List

Lawmaker urges probe into misuse of navy ship

By Vincent Y. Chao  /  Staff Reporter

A Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmaker yesterday called for an investigation into allegations that a navy official had used a navy ship to transport his personal stock of liquor.

Captain Sung Le-yeh (宋樂業) is alleged to have transported 200 bottles of custom-designed Kinmen spirits onboard a navy ship from the outlying island of Kinmen last month, the Chinese-language Apple Daily reported yesterday.

Only half the bottles were for official use and approved for passage, the report said.

The captain had personally purchased the other 100 bottles as gifts for senior naval commanders, it added.

Their inclusion on the cargo manifest was a violation of regulations designed to prevent the personal use of military equipment.

The Apple Daily said Song had instructed six more naval personnel to transport his personal spirits back to a naval base after the ship docked at Zuoying Naval Yard in Greater Kaohsiung early last month.

The whistleblower told the paper that the move surprised the sailors at the base because it “turned a navy ship into a liquor freighter.”

DPP Legislator Tsai Huang--liang (蔡煌瑯) said the incident illustrates an underlying problem with the military.

Earlier in January, air force commander Lei Yu-chi (雷玉其) was removed from his post after media reports saying he had mobilized dozens of staff to serve at his son’s wedding, held at an air force recreation center.

“A failure to distinguish between public and private use has become part of our military culture. It is extremely common,” Tsai said. “The Ministry of National Defense should crack down to stop the practice.”

DPP Legislator Huang Wei-cher (黃偉哲) said he would ask the Control Yuan to investigate the allegations.

According to the Apple Daily, Sung was only given two demerits after the incident was brought to light, while the captain of the navy ship was only written up for his role in an “unsatisfactory incident.”

The DPP lawmakers called the response a mere slap on the wrist and insufficient to prevent future abuse.

“Even after the incident was publicized, [Sung] has remained unrepentant. The ministry should have harsher corrective measures to enforce military discipline,” Huang said.

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