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MND says it respects impeaching of three officers in abuse case

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Ministry of National Defense (MND) yesterday expressed its respect for the Control Yuan's Monday decision to impeach three military officers over a high-profile abuse case that resulted in the death of Army conscript Hung Chung-chiu (洪仲丘) in 2013.

Asked to comment on the impeachments on Major General Shen Wei-chih (沈威志), Major General Yang Fang-han (楊方漢), and Colonel Ho Chiang-chung (何江忠), military spokesman Luo Shao-ho (羅紹和) said the ministry fully respects the Control Yuan members' decision.

  The case has now been turned over to the Public Functionary Disciplinary Sanction Commission under the Judicial Yuan to determine their punishment, Luo said.

  In response to the impeachment, Luo said the three senior Army officers are expected to present their written defense to the commission as soon as possible.

  After receiving the written defense, the Disciplinary Sanction Commission will make its decision on what kind of punishment will be handed out to the three defendants, he said

  They are facing possible punishments such as discharge, suspension, demotion, reduced pay, demerits or warnings, based on how serious the commission believes their misconduct was, Luo said.

  If the commission decides to have them discharged from the military, the heaviest punishment would be the three officers losing their pensions, Luo said.

  The spokesman refuted media speculations that the military will ask the three officers to file for early retirement within three months.

  Media commentators have speculated that the MND could ask them to resign in order to dodge responsibility over the death of Hung.

According to the Control Yuan, the three were impeached because they were greatly at fault in the Hung case.

  Hung, 24, died of heatstroke on July 4, 2013, after being forced to do strenuous exercise in the sweltering heat of a military detention center.

  Shen and Ho were the commander and deputy commander of the 542nd Armor Brigade that sent Hung to a detention center for bringing a camera-equipped phone onto his base.

  Yang headed the 269th Brigade and was responsible for the detention center at which Hung died.

  Shen, Ho and Yang were transferred to other posts in the Army following Hung's death.

  The Taoyuan District Court ruled 13 of the 18 defendants in the Hung case guilty this March and sentenced them to between three and eight months in prison. Unsatisfied with the rulings, Hung's family later decided to appeal the case to the High Court.

Military Silent on New Deputy Minister 

Meanwhile, spokesman Luo yesterday said the MND has yet to decide who will become the new deputy defense minister after the departure of Lee Shying-jow (李翔宙).

  The Presidential Office announced Monday that Lee will become the new head of National Security Bureau after President Ma Ying-jeou accepted the resignation of Tsai Der-sheng (蔡得勝) over health issues.

Media reports said Air Force Commander General Liu Chen-wu (劉震武) is the most likely candidate to fill Lee's vacancy in the military.

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