Thu, Aug 08, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Military supreme court orders new decision on officers

By Rich Chang and Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporters

Family members of servicemen who have died during their military service protest in front of the Ministry of Justice in Taipei yesterday against the high threshold for reopening an investigation proposed by the Cabinet’s special committee for reviewing suspicious deaths of servicemen in the past. The committee is set to start operation on Aug. 30.

Photo: CNA

The Military Supreme Court yesterday ordered the Military High Court to review whether to detain three senior officers over their alleged involvement in the death of army corporal Hung Chung-chiu (洪仲丘) last month.

The Military High Court summoned the three to attend a hearing that started at 7pm yesterday and was still going on at the time of going to press.

Military prosecutors on Wednesday last week indicted 18 senior officers and non-commissioned officers over Hung’s death. Following the indictment, the Military High Court on Friday released the former deputy commander of the 542nd Brigade, Colonel Ho Chiang-chung (何江忠), on NT$300,000 bail, company commander Major Hsu Shin-cheng (徐信正) on NT$250,000 bail and Staff Sergeant Fan Tso-hsien (范佐憲) on NT$200,000 bail.

Military prosecutors as well as Hung’s family appealed the decisions.

Hung, a 24-year-old conscript, was subjected to exercises that were “unbearable, cruel and abusive,” resulting in his death from multiple organ failure triggered by heatstroke, according to military prosecutors.

He was allegedly forced to perform strenuous exercises in sweltering heat as punishment for taking a camera-equipped cellphone onto his base in Hsinchu County in northern Taiwan.

In other developments, the National Communications Commission (NCC) said yesterday that it would seek evaluations from media experts over the media coverage of Hung’s death.

Huang Chin-yi (黃金益), director of the commission’s communication content department, said the commission had received complaints that TV stations have focused too much on the Hung case, at the expense of other equally important issues facing the nation.

“I think this [the stated problem] is a common error committed by the media in an overly competitive market. Nevertheless, there should be structural changes to ensure that the [news] environment develops in the right direction,” he said.

Huang added that the commission had received similar complaints over media coverage of other major issues in the past, but has yet to find effective solutions to address the matter.

According to Huang, the meeting with media experts is scheduled to be held some time this month, adding that they would focus on how the media can avoid over-reporting an issue and whether the media have violated regulations in its coverage of Hung’s death in the name of seeking the truth.

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