MND defends decorating retired general

By Joseph Yeh, The China Post

The China Post–The Ministry of National Defense (MND) yesterday defended its decision to present military decorations to recently retired General Liu Fu-long (劉復龍) even though a major accident occurred during his tenure as director of the MND’s Armaments Bureau in which six men were killed. The retirement of 60-year-old Liu was approved in accordance with related regulations, the MND said in a statement.  The military decoration given to him upon his retirement on March 1 was done to commemorate his decades of contributions to the armed forces, it continued.  The former Armaments Bureau director was already punished with two demerits for his negligence in supervision following the arsenal blast which occurred last October, the MND said.  The military’s clarification was released after a local newspaper report yesterday which quoted lawmakers as asking the MND to reconsider Liu’s decoration since it could further hurt the feelings of the surviving victims of the blast and their families.

The accident took place on Oct. 28, 2011 at the 204th Arsenal in northeastern Yilan County’s Yuanshan Township, when personnel were destroying a batch of stun grenades.  The explosion left six employees and military personnel dead while another two suffered lesser injuries.  The Chinese-language Apple Daily also said investigations showed that the tragedy was triggered by friction between chemicals that ignited the flash agent when military personnel tried to remove the top of one of the grenades but failed to follow standard procedures in doing so.  But the MND’s statement yesterday did not address the possible cause of the accident as observed in the report.  Meanwhile, the military said the 204th Arsenal has already reopened its production lines on non-initiating explosive devices.

The production lines for initiating explosive devices will not be reopened until they have cleared safety reviews slated to be held next month, an unidentified military source said in a Central News Agency report yesterday.