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July 26, 2017

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Most conscripts obey laws, regulations: MND

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Very few conscripts that have undergone or are undergoing compulsory four-month military training are found to have violated laws or military discipline, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said.

The Taiwan government previously announced the abolishment of the old conscription system whereby all eligible conscripts were required to complete a compulsory one-year service in the military.

Starting in 2013, all eligible conscripts born after Jan. 1, 1994 now no longer need to undergo one year of compulsory military service. Instead, they only need to conduct four months of military training.

However, a series of incidents involving military personnel and conscripts who have engaged in illicit activities or tarnished the military's image through inappropriate behavior have been reported in recent weeks.

A soldier at Army Command in Taoyuan County was caught spying on female colleagues with hidden cameras earlier this month. The 22-year-old solider was later punished and could face expulsion.

On Tuesday, the MND also confirmed that several military police have been punished over obscene photos taken at an Air Force base in eastern Hualien County while they were supposed to be on duty.

Speaking during a press conference on Tuesday, Major General Chiang Chen-chung (姜振中) of the Army Command stressed that these incidents only represent a very small number of conscripts.

Most of the conscripts that underwent or are undergoing the four-month training perform well and do not engage in illicit activities during training, he noted.

According to military statistics, a total of 22,295 conscripts have completed the four-month-training program since the new system was launched in 2013 while another 10,000-plus conscripts are currently undergoing the training, Chiang said.

"Only 61 conscripts, or 0.18 percent of all trainees, have been found violating laws since 2013. These cases have been referred to prosecutors for further investigation," he noted.

Another 22 cases of conscripts violating military discipline have been reported. They were all punished accordingly, he added.

Despite the relatively short training period, Chiang stressed that the military is doing its best to teach conscripts to be qualified soldiers and follow order and discipline.

Four-month Training

According to the MND, the four-month training program is divided into two parts. The first eight weeks is to train conscripts to become qualified rifle shooters. The second part, another eight weeks of training, focuses on individual military skills.

After finishing their required training, qualified soldiers will become reserve soldiers and can be mobilized during wartime, the MND said.

Eligible males studying in colleges and universities can choose to undergo the training during two summer vacations, one when they are freshman and another during their sophomore year, each for a period of eight weeks, according to the MND's plan.

Other eligible males that do not continue their education after they reach 18 will be enlisted to conduct the training all at once, the military said.

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