Taipei, 4 August
Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou was mobbed by hundreds of angry mourners today as he attended the funeral service for a young conscript who died after allegedly being abused by his officers.
Protesters, including relatives and sympathisers, shouted, “We want truth” as Mr Ma, protected by security guards, made his way to the funeral site at the soldier’s home in the central city of Taichung.
The service was held a day after more than 1,00,000 people took to the streets of the capital Taipei to protest over the death of Corporal Hung Chung-chiu and the “sloppy” military investigation of the case. Hung died of heatstroke on 4 July ~ apparently after being forced to exercise excessively as punishment for taking a smartphone onto his base ~ just three days before the end of his compulsory year-long military service.
Mr Ma pledged no such tragedy would recur in the military as he offered his condolences to the family.
“As the president and the leader of the country’s three armed forces, I hereby guarantee that Hung Chung-chiu will not have died in vain and such a tragedy will not happen again,” Mr Ma told Hung’s father Hung Chi-tuan.
A total of 18 military officials were indicted last week over Hung’s death, including the former commander of his brigade, after military prosecutors completed their investigation.
They were indicted on charges ranging from abuse leading to death and involuntary manslaughter to imposing illegal punishment on a subordinate and offences against personal liberty. Four detained suspects were separately released by a military court on bail last week, fuelling public anger.
“The four are likely to further collude with each other. Why they were released on a bail?” Hung’s father asked Mr Ma. The president said military prosecutors had appealed against the court’s ruling.