Army punishes 27 for the death of one soldier during disciplinary confinement

Staff Writer, with CNA

Sat, Jul 13, 2013 - Page 4

The Ministry of National Defense will punish 27 army officers, including three-star Commander General Lee Hsiang-chou (李翔宙), over the death of a serviceman in disciplinary confinement.

The officers were given demerits or removed from their posts, with 12 of them facing court martial, according to the announcement on Thursday made after a meeting presided over by General Yen Ming (嚴明), Chief of the General Staff.

Lee was the highest-ranking person to be punished. He received a demerit pending approval by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).

Among the others being punished were two two-star generals and four one-star generals.

Military sources say until now, the ministry had not punished officers of high rank.

Eight officers from the 269th Brigade, where the victim had been sent for disciplinary action were also punished, including one-star brigade commander Yang Fang-han (楊方漢).

Ten officials and officers from the 542nd Brigade, in which the victim served as a corporal, were also to be punished.

Brigade commander Shen Wei-chih (沈威志) was given two demerits, removed from his post and referred to military prosecutors.

The deceased Corporal Hung Chung-chiu (洪仲丘) was sent to confinement in Taoyuan County on June 28 for carrying a camera phone in breach of regulations about a week before he was to be discharged from the army.

Hung died on July 3 halfway through his one-week confinement.

He had been hospitalized after feeling unwell following physical training.

The cause of death is still under investigation, although initial reports pointed to organ failures due to heat stroke and mistreatment.