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Defense Ministry expresses regret over hunger striker's hospitalization

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Ministry of National Defense (MND) yesterday expressed regret after it learned that the mother of an airman who died in 2008 was sent to the hospital four days after she began a hunger strike to demand that the ministry reopen the investigation into her son's death.

Yu Jui-min (尤瑞敏), the mother of former Air Force Staff Sergeant Tsai Hsueh-liang (蔡學良), was sent to National Taiwan University Hospital around noon yesterday, according to Yu's family.

 Her condition has stabilized, and said she will continue her strike, Yu's family said.

 Yu began a hunger strike last Thursday outside MND Headquarters in Taipei. She said that she would not stop the strike until the military agrees to reopen the case and conduct ballistic tests to determine the truth surrounding Tsai's death.

 Tsai was found dead at a military shooting range on May 9, 2008.

 Military investigators decided that he had committed suicide by shooting himself with a T65 rifle during target practice, but his family insisted that Tsai died under suspicious circumstances and they have been repeatedly demanded that the military probe the case.

 Asked to comment, the MND yesterday expressed regret over Yu's hospitalization.

 The ministry said the case of Tsai's death is pending before the Taiwan High Court.

 Yu should apply to the High Court if she wants a ballistics test conducted, the ministry said.

 The ministry said it respected Yu's appeal and it would cooperate with the courts in the investigation into Tsai's death.

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