President Ma demands strict review of military discipline from MND
President Ma Ying- jeou on Monday demanded that the Ministry of National Defense strictly review discipline within the military in the wake of a security lapse on an Army base in Taoyuan where Apache helicopters are stationed.
Presidential Office spokesman Charles Chen ( ) said Ma has always emphasized the importance of maintaining military discipline and is “highly concerned” about the recent incident that has dealt a blow to the military’s image.
He said Ma has asked the defense ministry to launch an immediate review of certain procedures within the country’s military.
Chief of the General Staff Gen. Yen De- fa ( ) has also issued a directive for a comprehensive review of discipline in the country’s armed forces, which will be held Tuesday.
The nationwide meetings have been scheduled amid an investigation into allegations that Apache helicopter pilot Lt. Col. Lao Nai- cheng ( ) took a group of 26 relatives and friends, including a Japanese man and five foreign domestic helpers, on a tour of his base in Longtan District in Taoyuan on Sunday, March 29.
Without his superiors’ approval, Lao allegedly gave his visitors access to a hangar on the base that houses AH- 64E Apaches, the Army’s most advanced attack helicopter, and even allowed them to board one of the choppers and take photos.
The allegations came to light after one of the visitors, TV host Janet Lee ( ) posted four photos of the Army base tour on her Facebook page, drawing media criticisms of loose security in Taiwan’s military.
After hours of questioning by Taoyuan district prosecutors on Sunday, 11 of the civilians involved in the case were released without bail. Among them were Lee and her husband, some of their friends, Lao’s wife Chiu Ya- ching ( ) his sister- inlaw Chiu Ya- chi ( ) and her Japanese boyfriend.
Lao was released early Monday morning on bail of NT$ 500,000 ( US$ 16,150).
On Friday, April 3, the military penalized him with a major demerit and removal from his post as a deputy head of a helicopter squadron under the Army Special Forces Command.
According to a source familiar with the relevant laws, foreign nationals are prohibited from visiting military bases without prior approval from the Ministry of National Defense. Lao could face at least five years in prison for violating laws such as the Vital Area Regulations, the source said.