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Army prosecutor decries 'sensational' media coverage

2013/07/22 23:07:41

Taipei, July 22 (CNA) Taiwan's chief military prosecutor on Monday deplored media reports which he said are far from the truth and asked the media to "give investigators room" to get to the bottom of all the facts about the death of an Army corporal.

Maj. Gen. Tsao Chin-sheng's appeal came amid continued media attention to the case of Corporal Hung Chung-chiu, who died on July 4 after being wrongfully thrown into the brig just days before his discharge.

Tsao denied the suggestion that Hung was the victim of a brutal act by a collaborating group, saying that only one person has been listed as a suspect of mistreatment.

He asked the media to refrain from unsettling the public by making sensational reports and to give room to the military task force charged with the investigation. He promised the military will find out the truth about Hung's death.

The Army and the Ministry of Defense have come under unrelenting criticism in the media for the last two weeks over the death of Hung, who by all accounts had a promising future and was popular with his college alumni and fellow soldiers.

Presumably out of a personal grudge, a staff sergeant from the same company and others had Hung, 24, thrown into the brig on June 28 for carrying a camera phone onto the base. Unbeknown to Hung, he should have received administrative discipline for the offense.

The staff sergeant and four others have been detained for their role in Hung's death. As many as 33 others are facing court martial or other less serious disciplinary measures, including the three-star commander of the Army.

In a new twist, a famous forensic expert asked by the bereaved family to help with Hung's autopsy claimed Monday that he has received death threats.

Interviewed in a TV talk show, Kao Ta-cheng said he has been warned to "stay away from the edge of the platform" when he travels by train and to drive a better -- presumably safer -- car.

After the autopsy on July 15, Kao told reporters that Hung was "drilled to death."

The Army's initial report said that Hung, who had a body mass index of 33, was forced to do strenuous physical exercises in punishing heat against regulation until he collapsed on the evening of July 3, his sixth day in the brig. He died hours later.

(By Rogge Chen and Jay Chen)
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