Military punishes 14 officers over warrantless search

by Matthew Strong

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – A total of 14 officers from the chief of the Political Warfare Bureau on down were disciplined for the warrantless search of the home of a man suspected of possessing confidential military documents, the Ministry of National Defense announced Friday.

On February 19, the Taipei Military Police Station visited the home of a man surnamed Wei who owned reputedly confidential documents from the White Terror era many decades ago. The era followed the 1947 uprising and repression known as the 228 Incident.

Wei’s daughter wrote online that the search had occurred without warrant and that her father had been coerced into signing a document agreeing to the incident. Her comments caused a firestorm of indignation about tactics which seemed to date back to Martial Law, the period before 1987.

At a special news conference Friday afternoon, the military said it was slapping disciplinary measures on 14 officers over the incident.

The list included two demerits for Political Warfare Bureau chief Lieutenant General Wen Chen-kuo, a reprimand for military police commander Lieutenant General Hsu Chang, three demerits for Major General Chao Tai-chuan, head of the Political Warfare Bureau’s Military Security Division, and one demerit for Taipei Military Police Station chief Colonel Lu Cheng-fang.

Wen had failed in the supervision of the military police, leading to damage being caused to the military’s reputation, the ministry gave as explanation for the punishment. Hsu was slammed for failing to have given his men training in professionalism, while Chao had messed up the operation and failed to report to his superiors in time, the military said.

Wen and Hsu were present at the news conference to bow in apology for their shortcomings, reports said.

As to why Wei’s alleged signing of a document agreeing to the search had not been recorded, the ministry said it had been “too dark” in the street. The military police officers and Wei had been talking “happily” on the Mass Rapid Transit train on the way to his home, so when they arrived, Wei had reportedly gone inside to sign the document and then handed it over in the street in front of his home, the ministry said.

The military acknowledged that at an early meeting discussing the case, someone had suggested involving civilian prosecutors and applying for a warrant, but the proposal had not been retained.



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