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Taiwanese Navy Reopens Abuse Case

Taiwanese navy
file photo

By MarEx 2016-02-21 16:17:24

The Taiwanese navy has reopened an investigation into the 1995 drowning of a seaman overboard from destroyer Nan-Yang.

The investigation has heard allegations of abuse prior to the death of Navy Seaman Huang Kuo-chang.

A seaman on board the vessel at the time, surnamed Chen, said that boiling porridge had been poured over the Huang’s bare foot the day before he allegedly committed suicide.

Around midnight on June 3 that year, Huang had been forced to do push-ups by a seaman surnamed Cheng, who later kicked Huang in the stomach, according to a report of Chen’s testimony in The China Post.

A few days later, Huang was brought into a galley by Cheng where he and another officer placed the man’s right foot under a stove faucet covering it in boiling mung bean soup.

"Try to play dumb again next time," the men warned Huang before leaving him in tears on the floor.

Haung went missing the following day on June 9, and his body was found by Chinese fishermen six days later.

At the time, the Navy claimed that Haung, unable to cope with stress, had jumped into the sea to commit suicide. 

However, Huang's mother had suspected abuse. Unable to find conclusive evidence, the Navy declared it would not press charges in July 1997. The case was reopened in 2013 following the establishment of a special commission to review possible miscarriages of justice under military courts over the past 20 years.

Prosecutors previously indicted the ship’s captain on charges of professional negligence resulting in Huang’s death, as he failed to stop the vessel to search for Huang despite allegedly knowing that he had attempted suicide in the past.

Had the captain initiated a search and rescue mission immediately, it is possible that Huang could have been found alive, prosecutors said.