Taiwan's defence minister apologises over Apache incidents

Taiwan's defence minister apologises over Apache incidents
Taiwan Defence Minister Kao Kuang-chi bows in apology during a press conference in Taipei on April 7, 2015.

Taipei - Defence Minister Kao Kuan-chi apologised on Tuesday for a controversy involving an Army pilot giving civilians access to AH-64E Apache attack helicopters and wearing a helmet-mounted display used with the helicopter to a private party.

"I'd like to express my sincerest apologies to the public," Kao said. Acknowledging that the incidents have tarnished the army's reputation, he stressed that Taiwan's military will take a hard look at itself and undertake broad reforms to improve.

Kao's comments came during an unexpected appearance at a news conference held at Ministry of National Defence headquarters to announce the results of the military's investigation into the incidents and the punishments given to those who should be held responsible.

Kao said the ministry has formed a task force to look into the incidents involving lapses in internal management at the Army's 601st Aviation Brigade in Longtan District in Taoyuan.

The task force, to be headed by Deputy Defence Minister Liu Chen-wu, will spare no effort to uncover problems and hold those involved accountable, Kao said.

The minister also pledged to co-operate with Taoyuan prosecutors who are investigating whether criminal charges are warranted in the case and to offer them any necessary assistance.

The ministry will also stage a nationwide review of military discipline to reinforce the education of officers and soldiers to avoid similar incidents, Kao said amid questioning over the latest lapse in military discipline.

Noting the military's resolve to improve, Kao expressed hope that it could win back the public's support.

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