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Air Force to probe alleged F-16 breach

2018/02/25 18:09:52

CNA file photo

Taipei, Feb. 25 (CNA) Taiwan's Air Force will investigate a possible breach of state security after photos showing a young woman making cute gestures in the cockpit of a F-16 fighter jet at Hualien Air Force Base were posted on Facebook.

The photos showing the woman and her friends posing with the F-16 were posted online Saturday night, sparking controversy in the Internet community, before being removed, according to a Liberty Times report on Sunday.

In a statement issued later Sunday, the Air Force Command Headquarters said a retired master sergeant surnamed Lin brought the woman and her friends onto the base in 2012 without applying for a permit and the photos were taken during a tour of the hanger.

The serial number of the F-16 and where the jet was parked were not visible in the photos, leading the Air Force to order an inspection of its bases in Hualien and Chiayi where all of the country's F-16s are housed, the statement said.

The inspection confirmed that the pictures of the F-16 were shot at its Hualien base, according to the Air Force.

Lin, who served as chief mechanic at that time, retired in April 2013, it said.

The Air Force Command called it "regrettable" that relevant regulations on allowing visitors onto bases were not followed and said it will look into who should be held responsible for the offenses.

The case is not the first of its kind.

On March 29, 2015, 601st Air Cavalry Brigade Lt. Col. Lao Nai-cheng (勞乃成) brought a group of people, including television personality Janet Lee (李蒨蓉) and her family and friends, to see the U.S.-manufactured Apache helicopters at his base in Taoyuan, without approval from his superiors.

Some members of the group boarded an Apache and took photos of the chopper. The case came to light after Lee uploaded photos from her tour on her Facebook page on April 2, sparking public criticism of the loose security in Taiwan's military.

Several military officers were punished and Lao was suspended from duty for two years for violating provisions in the Criminal Code of the Armed Forces that prohibit the leaking of military secrets.

(By Hsieh Chia-chen and Evelyn Kao)
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