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July 27, 2017

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If only the Army could be as competent as this ring that rigged its contracts for armored vehicle parts

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Authorities on Monday closed the net on a ring of Army officers and suppliers who allegedly wet their beaks at every step in the procurement of parts for armored vehicles.

Prosecutors in New Taipei said the officers from the Armed Forces Reserve Command colluded with 18 parts manufacturers, among them suppliers for big-name brands including Humvee and Medium Tactical Vehicles, as well as with local gang members.

The suspects, 20 of whom were questioned Monday, are believed to have been involved in up to 100 bids worth NT$60 million, prosecutors said.

They allegedly bribed the officer handling armored vehicle part procurement in exchange for information on the Army's pre-selected asking price. The officer cash equivalent to 1 percent of that price, according to prosecutors.

The suspects allegedly met at a KFC in New Taipei's Luzhou District to determine which of them would win each. Whoever was selected would make their offer in line with the Army's asking price, with the others giving quotes exceeding the military budget.

If the bid prices had already been submitted, the bribed officer would help the suppliers change their bids on the tender forms.

The scam didn't stop there.

After winning the bid, the group cut corners by passing off low-quality vehicle parts imported from China as certified parts, again with the help of officials on their payroll, prosecutors said.

Furthermore, to clear out inventory and thus require a new round of procurement, the officers sold off quality Taiwan-made parts that had been in storage — and of course pocketed the proceeds.

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