Pundits and legislators are criticizing the Ministry of National Defense for what they described as its failure to stem a flood of military personnel leaving the service by questionable means.
Ministry officials fielded criticism and questions at a public hearing last week organized by New Power Party Legislator Hung Tzu-yung (洪慈庸), which was held to address the options for “exit strategies” for officers who want to retire or take up jobs in the civilian sector.
The issue has gained notoriety in recent weeks, with reports saying that some armed forces units have unusually high numbers of officers being treated for psychiatric disorders at military hospitals.
Legislators have called for an investigation to be launched, after it was alleged that many of those claiming mental-health issues were faking their symptoms to gain a doctor’s diagnosis that would enable them to quit or retire, with senior officers able to draw large pensions.
In one case, a naval officer surnamed Yang (楊) received NT$500,000 in pension, NT$500,000 from a medical insurance he had paid for just prior to developing the alleged illness and a daily hospital allowance of between NT$2,000 and NT$4,000, all the while collecting his monthly salary, reports said.
In another alleged scam, a company commander and his deputy commander at the 66th Marine Brigade in Taoyuan were admitted to the psychiatric ward at the Tri-Service General Hospital’s Beitou Branch in Taipei, which is also known as the 818th Military Hospital.
According to information provided by Hung’s office, from 2012 to April this year, a total of 829 military officers either left the service or were approved for retirement. Of these, 661 — just under 80 percent — were released after being treated for psychiatric disorders at military hospitals.
Hung said her office has received numerous reports from soldiers — and their parents — that they were unable to adapt to military life, saying they would like to leave, but the current system does not allow them to, as they must fulfill their service-year requirements after having first signed up for the volunteer force and then becoming professional soldiers.
Others were concerned over debts they would incur if they did not complete their publicly funded military school program.
Political pundit and media personality Hector Kang (康仁俊) said that this medical scam has been going on for some time, because some soldiers cannot endure the strict discipline of the military, and they had received good job offers in the civilian sector.
Kang advised the ministry to conduct an immediate evaluation of the system, saying that many of its practices are anachronistic.
More flexible exit strategies that are responsive to the needs of today’s soldiers should be put in place, he said.
Hung has been concerned with rights of soldiers in military service, after rising to national prominence at the helm of a national movement against military abuse spurred by the death of her brother, army corporal Hung Chung-chiu (洪仲丘), who died of heatstroke following punishment exercises days before his scheduled discharge in 2013.
A student at National Chengchi University jumped from the roof of his apartment in the early hours of Sunday after he was allegedly bullied online. The 21-year-old student, surnamed Huang (黃), on Friday last week posted on the university’s online discussion forum asking the public to judge a dispute he was having with a female roommate about rent. An anonymous post on the online forum Dcard appeared on the same day, saying he was the last person to judge others, and that he was “a heavy smoker, lazy, a terrible group member for class projects and a person with a poor
POPULAR PRODUCTS: Most of the devices were made by Da-Jian Innovations, a drone maker, and TP-Link, which sells routers and other networking equipment More than 2,500 public schools and government offices are using 19,256 blacklisted Chinese communications and electronic devices, raising national security concerns, a National Center for Cyber Security Technology (NCCST) report said. The report, released late last month, showed that many of the blacklisted products were from Shenzhen-based Da-Jiang Innovations Technology (DJI, 大疆創新), which makes drones and cameras for aerial photography. The Executive Yuan has previously instructed schools and government offices to report back on their use and installation of blacklisted communications and electronic devices, which are to be replaced by the end of the year. If they are not replaced, due to budget
The military is to mount two tank guns purchased from the US on domestically made armored vehicles to aid in the research and development (R&D) of mobile gun systems, sources said on Saturday. Two sets of M68A2 105mm tank guns are to be mounted on Taiwanese-built CM-32 Clouded Leopards, the sources said. The official R&D would start next year, and the military hopes to produce two prototypes by 2023, they added. A 105mm tank gun is expected to be the main weapon of armored vehicles, with a secondary system to incorporate a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun with a 12.7mm remote-controlled machine gun turret. Sources
‘IT FEELS DESOLATE’: Foot traffic has all but stopped in the district, but some traditional stores that offer online shopping have seen their revenues increase Businesses in Taipei’s Wanhua District (萬華) would take at least six months to recover from the effects of a COVID-19 outbreak, a merchants’ association said on Sunday. Wanhua, home to the Ximending (西門町) shopping area, is usually one of the most visited parts of Taipei. However, people have been avoiding the district since last month, when a COVID-19 outbreak was discovered there. Now, only local residents can be seen on the streets of Wanhua and they pass by quickly without entering the shops, Taipei Business District and Industrial Confederation chairman Hung Wen-ho (洪文和) said. “Most businesses have shuttered up. Only a