Heav­ier pun­ish­ments be­ing con­sid­ered in Apache case

Six for­eign na­tional now thought to have taken part in tour

The China Post - - LOCAL - BY STEPHANIE CHAO

Lt. Col. Lao Nai-cheng ( ) and 14 civil­ians who took part in a visit to an Apache he­li­copter base led by Lao were listed as de­fen­dants in the case yes­ter­day and Lao could face a 7-year jail term, ac­cord­ing to the Taoyuan Pros­e­cu­tors Of­fice.

In the sec­ond stage of in­ves­ti­ga­tions by pros­e­cu­tors, Lao re­vealed that a Ja­panese na­tional and five for­eign work­ers were among the vis­it­ing group, bring­ing the cur­rent to­tal of peo­ple in­volved to 27, said pros­e­cu­tors.

The laws that Lao al­legedly vi­o­lated in­clude the Clas­si­fied Na­tional Se­cu­rity In­for­ma­tion Pro­tec­tion Act ( ), the Vi­tal Area Reg­u­la­tions ( ), the Crim­i­nal Code of the Armed Forces ( ), dis­clo­sure of se­cret in­for­ma­tion un­der the Crim­i­nal Code ( ), and in­ten­tional in­for­ma­tion con­ceal­ment ( ). Lao was bailed for NT$500,000 and banned from leav­ing the coun­try.

Au­thor­i­ties said the Min­istry of Na­tional De­fense (MND, ) still needs to pro­vide an in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the reg­u­la­tions vi­o­lated.

Heav­ier and ex­panded pun­ish­ments for those in­volved will also be con­sid­ered, of­fi­cials said.

Five For­eign Work­ers In­volved

Among the group of 27 peo­ple, six were for­eign na­tion­als, in­clud­ing a Ja­panese man who is re­port­edly the boyfriend of Lao’s sis­ter-in-law, and five oth­ers whose na­tion­al­i­ties have not yet been con­firmed.

Au­thor­i­ties have not de­cided to sum­mon the for­eign na­tion­als for in­ves­ti­ga­tion and will re­search state­ments and se­cu­rity cam­era footage for clar­i­fi­ca­tion first.

Mil­i­tary of­fi­cials re­ported that Lao had only listed 20 peo­ple in the vis­i­tors’ book on March 29 and failed to re­veal the other six peo­ple dur­ing the ini­tial in­ves­ti­ga­tions. Lao ad­mit­ted there were other for­eign na­tion­als among the vis­i­tors af­ter the au­thor­i­ties be­gan to in­ter­view the group mem­bers separately.

Lao, who re­port­edly smug­gled an in­ter­ac­tive hel­met out of mil­i­tary premises to a Hal­loween party last year and took 27 peo­ple on a tour of a mil­i­tary base, will face a num­ber of charges, in­clud­ing un­der the Crim­i­nal Code of the Armed Forces for leak­ing mil­i­tary se­crets, au­thor­i­ties said.

In-depth In­ves­ti­ga­tion

Un­der­way: Kao

Min­is­ter for Na­tional De­fense Kao Kuang-chi ( ) yes­ter­day or­dered the Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fice of the Min­is­ter, Po­lit­i­cal War­fare Bureau and Civil Ser­vice Ethics Of­fice to put to­gether an in­ves­ti­ga­tion team and launch an in-depth in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Kao said that while most of the de­tails of the case have been clar­i­fied, ini­tial in­ves­ti­ga­tions were still based on the tran­scripts of the in­ter­views with the peo­ple in­volved. For fur­ther clar­i­fi­ca­tion of the facts of the case, Kao said that an indepth in­ves­ti­ga­tion will have to be held.

Heav­ier pun­ish­ments for the sec­ond list of peo­ple in­volved will also be con­sid­ered, the Army said. The sec­ond list is sched­uled to be pub­lished to­day.

Cap­tured from the In­ter­net

This photo cap­tured from the In­ter­net shows Lt. Col. Lao Nai-cheng ( ), left, wear­ing an Apache in­ter­ac­tive hel­met at a Hal­loween party last year. Lao is ac­cused of vi­o­lat­ing a num­ber of laws by il­le­gally tak­ing 27 peo­ple into the Army Spe­cial Forces 601 Brigade and smug­gling the in­ter­ac­tive hel­met off mil­i­tary premises.

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