Wed, Aug 29, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Defense ministry to sue Internet star for calling military trash

By Aaron Tu, Hsiao Fang-chi, Huang Chieh and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

The Ministry of National Defense on Monday said it is initiating a defamation lawsuit against Chen Yee (陳沂), after the Internet celebrity earlier that day said on Facebook that the majority of the military are “trash.”

Chen, 34, a National Taipei University law school graduate and former FHM Taiwan edition cover girl, frequently posts cosmetic product reviews and live-streams on Facebook, where she has more than 220,000 followers.

On Sunday, Chen in a Facebook post criticized bullying and corruption in the military.

Hours later, she uploaded a live-stream commentary on the failings of the military’s volunteers.

Most volunteer troops signed up because they were illiterate or too poorly educated and had no prospects in other lines of work, she said, before adding: “The majority of the Republic of China’s volunteer soldiers are trash.”

The military’s volunteers do not defend the country and they pass disaster relief work on to conscripts, she said.

“You are telling us that without you the Chinese communists are going to attack us? No, you are just useless,” she said.

The ministry responded on its Facebook page with a comment signed by its spokesman, Major General Chen Chung-chi (陳中吉), saying the military is in the process of filing a lawsuit against Chen.

Chen Yee has cast aspersions on members of the armed forces who, at this very moment, are laboring in areas of the nation affected by flooding to provide relief or defending the nation at their posts, Chen Chung-chi said.

It is an open question whether Chen Yee had ulterior motives in manufacturing an online controversy that had the effect of tearing at the solidarity between the nation’s armed forces and civilians, Chen Chung-chi said.

Refusing to apologize, Chen Yee yesterday said that her comments do not meet the legal standard of libel, which applies only to slanderous remarks describing a specific person or people.

When asked for comments, lawyer Chen Chih-yu (陳致宇) said that although it would be difficult for the ministry or soldiers to press libel charges, the crime of insulting a public office could apply.

Article 140 of the Criminal Code states that the crime is punishable by a prison sentence of less than six months or a fine, Chen Chih-yu said.

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