Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Army officers punished for civilian visit of Apache chopper

Army officers punished for civilian visit of Apache chopper

Taipei, April 3 (CNA) Five Army officers were punished Friday after a local TV personality was able to board an AH-64E Apache attack helicopter, the Army's most advanced chopper, and shared the photos she took of the chopper's cockpit on social media. Lt. Col. Lao Nai-cheng (???), deputy head of a helicopter squadron in Taoyuan under the Army Special Forces Command who gave TV hostess Janet Lee (???) and her family access to the helicopter, was given a major demerit and removed from his post. He will be handed over to Taoyuan prosecutors, who are investigating the case, according to an Army officer who disclosed the punishments at a press conference Friday afternoon. At the press conference, Deputy Army Commander Lt. Gen. Pan Chia-yu (???) offered a public apology for the incident and vowed to reinforce regulations on entry to a military base and rules on receiving visitors. Among others punished, Col. Tan Chia-cheng (???) received a major demerit and was removed from his post because he was the highest-ranking officer at the base in Longtan District in Taoyuan when Lao brought the entertainer's family for a visit. Lt. Gen. Chen Chien-tsai (???), commander of the Army Special Forces Command, was given a minor demerit for a lapse in internal management and control of information security. The two other individuals disciplined were senior officers with the 601st Aviation Brigade who were given two minor demerits each. After an internal investigation, the Army found that Lao, a pilot with the 601st brigade, took a group of 20 relatives and friends to the hangar on the base that housed the Apaches on March 29 without the approval of his superiors. Lee was among the visitors who took photos at the hangar. She later posted four photos from her visit on her Facebook page, including one showing her standing in front of an Apache and another showing her sitting in the cockpit with a clear view of the chopper's flight instruments. A man in another of the photos wearing the Apache's integrated helmet and display sight system was confirmed as Lee's husband, the Army said. The incident violated the military's regulations on information security, the Army said, and its initial investigation identified many lapses in internal management, which allowed the incident to occur. The Army will continue to investigate the incident, and more military personnel could be punished, it said. It vowed to improve its internal management and reinforce the education of officers and soldiers to avoid similar incidents. The Army stressed that the March 29 incident was the only case so far of an officer taking civilians to an Apache hangar, in violation of regulations on visitors to a military base. The Apaches were purchased from the United States. Pan said the Army has explained to the U.S. side that this was an individual case and did not affect overall security. The Army has taken compensatory measures, he added. Taiwan has taken delivery of all 30 Apaches it purchased from the U.S. The model E is the latest in the Apache attack helicopter series and Taiwan is among the few countries using it so far. (By Claudia Liu, Chiu Chun-chin and Elaine Hou)


Updated : 2021-09-29 10:45 GMT+08:00