Taiwanese military officers disciplined over Apache photo scandal

Taiwanese military officers disciplined over Apache photo scandal

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Army Command Headquarters (ACH) yesterday announced the updated list of five penalized military officials involved in local celebrity Janet Lee entering the cockpit of an Apache helicopter, including an Army Special Forces lieutenant general commander, who is the highest ranking officer to be punished.

The penalized officers include Army Special Forces Lieutenant General Commander Chen Chien-tsai with one demerit, Army Special Forces 601 Brigade Commander Major General Chien Tsung-yuan with two demerits. 601 Brigade Chief of Staff Tan Chia-cheng , as the main commander on base on March 29, was penalized with a serious demerit and post transfer. 601 Combat Division commander Lieutenant Colonel Tseng Ming-hsiung was punished with two demerits.

Authorities also updated Lao Nei-chen's punishment, the lieutenant colonel deputy commander and chief information security officer who took Janet Lee onto the military premises. Originally penalized with three reprimands, Lao was disciplined with one serious demerit, removed from his post and will face prosecution.

In response to questions on the punishment update, the Ministry of National Defence (MND) replied that the three reprimands were originally a suggestion made by the combat division. It was during the conference held by the brigade that they decided to finalize the penalties, authorities said.

Lao took Janet Lee and her family onto Longtan Base in Taoyuan, giving a tour of a repair warehouse that contained an AH-64E Apache. He let Lee take photos with the aircraft and sit in the cockpit, violating national defence security regulations.

Lao Took 20 People onto Premises

During further investigations into the Apache controversy, the Army also found that Lao had taken 20 relatives and friends to tour the military base on March 29 without approval. The group comprised 13 adults and seven children, officials said.

Lao, also a seed instructor for AH-64E Apaches, personally showed the aircraft to his relatives and friends. During the tour, members of the group took photos of military aircraft with their smartphones. Among them, Janet Lee made posts on Facebook, attracting controversy and debate about slack military management.

Deputy Commander Pan Ku-yu, as the spokesman during the press conference held yesterday, apologised to the nation on behalf of the Army.

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