Ministries agree to cooperate over probe

By Rich Chang  /  Staff reporter

Thu, Jul 25, 2013 - Page 3

The Ministry of National Defense and the Ministry of Justice yesterday said they would cooperate to find the truth about the death earlier this month of army corporal Hung Chung-chiu (洪仲丘).

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) met Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) and Minister of National Defense Kao Hua-chu (高華柱) yesterday morning, where Ma asked Kao to cooperate with the justice ministry in the investigation.

Leaving the presidential office, Kao immediately visited Minister of Justice Tseng Yung-fu (曾勇夫), and the pair held a press conference where they released a statement.

The statement said the two ministries would fully cooperate over the investigation and aimed to uncover the truth as soon as possible.

Military judicial authorities and civil prosecutors are to conduct separate investigations into the case, but would exchange relevant information, findings and opinions, the statement said.

Chief military prosecutor Major General Tsao Chin-sheng (曹金生) and Deputy Chief Prosecutor of the Taiwan High Court Prosecutors’ Office Kuo Wen-tung (郭文東) will serve as points of contact between the two ministries.

In the press conference, Kao reiterated that the military had found serious flaws in the process, management and emergency treatment given during Hung’s disciplinary punishment. Due to concerns from the public and Hung’s family, the ministries promised to uncover the truth and face up to their responsibilities.

Meanwhile, Taoyuan district prosecutors yesterday gained access to the 269nd Brigade’s Taoyuan base to collect more evidence, seizing computer systems and surveillance footage from the Hsinchu Armed Forces Hospital.

Regarding controversy over the surveillance footage of Hung’s confinement, Hung family attorney Liu Chi-wei (劉繼蔚) said he inspected CCTV footage with military prosecutors yesterday morning, and found that a 102-minute portion from surveillance camera No. 8, which covered 2pm to 3:42pm on July 1, was missing. Liu said he suspects that the file covering this period was deleted.

He said the camera covers a drilling area where Hung performed physical exercises during his stay in the detention barracks.

Meanwhile, military prosecutors yesterday summoned the commander of the 542th Brigade, Major General Shen Wei-chih (沈威志), for questioning.

After a three-hour interview, Shen left the Military High Court’s Prosecutors’ Office at 1pm.

Shen, who approved Hung’s disciplinary punishment, received a text message from Hung asking for help before he was placed in confinement.

Meanwhile, First Sergeant Chen Yi-jen (陳以人) of the 542nd Brigade was released on bail of NT$200,000 (US$6,685), while Corporal Lee Nien-tsu (李念祖) of the 269nd Brigade was released on bail of NT$50,000.

Hung was placed in detention barracks on June 28. He later collapsed from heatstroke after drilling on July 3 and died a day later.

Protesters gathered in front of the defense ministry in Taipei on Saturday, demanding that the military reveal the truth about Hung’s death and bring the perpetrators to justice.