Sat, Aug 04, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Admiral apologizes to mom for son’s death in the navy

By Lo Tien-pin and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Admiral Huang Shu-kuang (黃曙光), Commander of the Republic of China (ROC) Navy, yesterday issued a public apology to Chen Pi-e (陳碧娥) for the death of her son in 1995, which was allegedly due to bullying in the military.

Chen said that her son, Private Huang Kuo-chang (黃國章), who was serving on the Nan Yang, called home on June 9, 1995, before he was to leave Kaohsiung’s Zuoying Harbor, claiming that his life was in danger.

The family received a call that night claiming that Huang Kuo-chang had committed suicide, she said.

However, a letter that she later received from her son showed that he had feared for his life for quite some time, Chen said.

While enhanced photographs provided by Chen appeared to indicate that his death might not have been a suicide, Navy Command did not pursue the case in 1997 and the Kaohsiung District Prosecutors’ Office in 2015 closed the case as it had exceeded the statute of limitations in 2005.

Chen became a vociferous military rights activist and director Isaac Wang’s (汪怡昕) documentary about the incident, The Private’s Mom (少了一個之後—孤軍), premiered yesterday at the Taiwan International Human Rights Film Festival in Taipei.

“Over the past 23 years, Mrs Chen has suffered through the pain of personal loss, and the Navy owes Mrs Chen an apology,” Huang Shu-kuang said.

The apology is not to cover up the truth, he said, adding that Chen’s Military Human Rights Association has helped the military modernize and become more transparent.

Huang vowed that bullying would not be tolerated during his tenure, adding that he hoped no such incident would ever happen again.

Meanwhile, Presidential Office Secretary-General Chen Chu (陳菊), who also attended the premier, said that Taiwan still has a long way to go regarding human rights issues.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has expressed her concern about the issue, and the government is working on improving it, she added.

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