KMT policy chief could face questions about missile

KMT policy chief could face questions about missile

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Prosecutors were likely to summon Kuomintang policy chief Alex Tsai for questioning as a witness in connection with last week’s missile misfiring, reports said Wednesday.
The prominent ex-lawmaker was one of the first to make the incident public online, leading to allegations that he had been guilty or at least involved in leaking confidential military information.
Last Friday, a junior officer fired off a supersonic Hsiung Feng III missile by accident during a drill on a corvette in Kaohsiung, hitting a fishing trawler and killing its captain.
Premier Lin Chuan and the military expressed anger about the early leaks about the incident, saying the reports endangered national security. As a result, the military filed a suit, asking the Kaohsiung District Prosecutors Office to investigate the leaks for violation of confidential military secret laws.
An unknown individual put the message “they fired a Hsiung Feng III in the 610 harbor” online, in a reference to the location of the Chinchiang-class corvette which fired the missile, reports said.
Prosecutors were investigating Line messages by Navy officers and sailors in order to find the identity of the author, reports said. Initial reports that the junior officer who fired the missile had been seen working on his smartphone shortly after the incident were dismissed, since the Navy barred its staff from bringing phones aboard.
Another person reportedly pasted the message on a more widely used social communication website.
Tsai said he had received the news of the misfiring as a text message from a friend he didn’t name and then posted it on his Facebook page. Kaohsiung prosecutors were preparing to question him as a witness about the origin of his information, reports said Wednesday.
The former lawmaker has often been at the center of controversies, especially during his time as KMT campaign manager in the 2014 Taipei mayoral election. He also became the target for a recall action in his electoral district, but it failed due to lack of voter interest.