The Control Yuan has voted to impeach 601st Air Cavalry Brigade Lieutenant Colonel Lao Nai-cheng (勞乃成) and two other officers over security breaches and rule violations in what came to be known as the “Apache helicopter scandal” earlier this year.
A nine-member Control Yuan committee yesterday said that it had voted unanimously to impeach Lao, a pilot-instructor for the US-made AH-64E Apache attack helicopter.
Brigade commander Major General Chien Tsung-yuan (簡聰淵) was impeached after a unanimous vote, while brigade personnel section head Lieutenant Colonel Tao Kuo-chen (陶國禎) was impeached after an 8-1 vote.
Lao took a group of 26 relatives and friends, including a Japanese man and five domestic caregivers who were foreign nationals, on a private tour of a restricted-access base which houses Apache helicopters and other advanced aircraft.
That visit on March 29 led to a firestorm after one visitor, TV personality Janet Lee (李蒨蓉), posted photographs on Facebook that drew widespread public criticism.
The Control Yuan report accused Lao of “wasting” the NT$40 million (US$1.28 million) the government spent to send him to the US for flight training.
“Lao took the nation’s assets as his own private property. He used the Apache helicopter as a social networking tool and took the helicopter helmet as a prop for a private party. During the investigation, Lao continued to lie about his actions and tried to cover them up. He has brought dishonor to the military,” the report said.
Chien was was the first person to breach base security with a tour for his relatives and friends on Feb. 20 this year, the report said, adding that Lao followed Chien’s example.
The investigation said that Tao was in charge of security and access to the base on March 29, but violated registration requirements and other regulations in permitting Lao’s group to bypass security checks.
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