MND prevents plan to sew army backpacks in China

By Wang Jung-hsiang, Lo Tien-pin and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

Sun, Sep 09, 2018 - Page 3

About 15,000 yards (13,700m) of nylon fabric that were to be used to manufacture military backpacks were waylaid by the Ministry of National Defense after the contracted company attempted to ship the cloth to China’s Guangdong Province for further processing, the ministry said on Friday.

The Kaohsiung-based Armament Bureau’s Manufacturing Center contracted an undisclosed company to manufacture 36,000 military backpacks, the ministry said.

The bureau said it transferred the 21,000 yards of nylon fabric to the company on Tuesday and on Wednesday dispatched personnel to the factory to certify that production of the backpacks had begun, as per regulation.

However, officials found far less fabric at the plant than was transferred, and after extensive questioning discovered that it was shipping 15,000 yards to Guangdong, the bureau said.

The contract between the bureau and the factory explicitly states that the backpacks must be made in Taiwan, the bureau added.

The bureau immediately contacted the Kaohsiung Customs Administration Office and asked it to identify and stop a container that held the fabric from leaving, the bureau said, adding that customs halted processing in time.

The factory blatantly breached the contract, probably because it lacked the capacity to complete an order of the size within the 60-day time frame set for delivery or because it sought to cut costs, the bureau said.

In an unofficial comment, the ministry said that while the fabric was not considered “classified,” if the factory had succeeded in its plans, the consequences could have been nearly as bad.

The fabric and relevant patents belong to the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology, Major General Lo Yi-chung (羅意中) said.

The dimensions of the backpacks — the latest model — are 57cm, 36cm and 27cm, Lo said, adding that they should be able to carry 50kg or more.

The bags must hold all of a soldier’s battle gear — including helmet, clothes, water jug, ammunition and shoes, Lo said.