The army yesterday apologized for the death of a soldier and promised to punish personnel responsible for the incident.
Hung Chung-chiu (洪仲丘), a soldier performing compulsory service in the army’s sixth regiment, died three days before he was due to complete his term of service.
The army said Hung was scheduled to leave the military on Saturday.
On June 23 he was found carrying a cellphone with a camera and an MP3 player after returning from vacation, and was placed in confinement on June 28.
The army said Hung’s confinement ended on Wednesday last week. At 4:30pm that day, he joined a 45-minute routine training session with fellow soldiers, which included running, push-ups, sit-ups and other activities.
At 5:30pm, Hung told his supervisors that he felt “very sick.”
He was sent to a military hospital in Hsinchu County and was later transferred to the Tri-Service General Hospital, where he died the next day, the army said.
Hung’s parents believe their son died from heat exhaustion.
They said Hung, who was sick when placed in confinement, was asked to join a training session in very hot weather immediately upon his release, adding that the army is responsible for his death.
Military spokesman Major General David Lo (羅紹和) told a press conference that Minister of National Defense Kao Hua-chu (高華柱) is very angry about the incident and has ordered the army to investigate it and seriously punish those responsible.
During the press conference, Vice Commander of the Army Lieutenant-General Wu You-ming (吳有明) bowed and apologized for the incident.
He said an initial probe found several problems with Hung’s treatment. The regulations used for his confinement were questionable; personnel monitoring Hung’s unit during the training exercise neglected their duties; personnel dealing with his emergency treatment were untrained; and his unit’s training regime was not adjusted in accordance with the heat.
Wu said an investigation is ongoing.
Meanwhile, in other news, in response to local media reports that allege Taiwanese film director Doze Niu’s (鈕承澤) new film, Military Paradise (軍中樂園), was at least 20 percent funded by Chinese capital, Lo said the military was not previously aware of this as Niu had not informed them when applying for military support for his film.
The military has decided to stop assisting Niu with his latest film project and is to take legal action against him for allowing a Chinese photographer to use false documents to enter a naval base in southern Taiwan on June 1 on a location-scouting trip.
Additional reporting by CNA