254 military criminals transported to local prisons

By Shin-Han Kwan, The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Two-hundred fifty-four military prisoners, including former presidential bodyguard He Yong-jian (何雍堅) were transferred to 11 prisons affiliated with the Agency of Corrections around Taiwan today, said the Ministry of National Defense (MND) yesterday.

The revised military justice law came into effect after midnight on Tuesday, and the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) has consulted with the MND about the transfer of military prisoners from Tainan military prison, said Chen Ming-tang (陳明堂), minister of the MOJ’s political affairs department. Five Generals

Lieutenant General He was once the bodyguard for former President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and was found guilty of accepting bribes as the provost marshal. Major Guo Li-heng (郭力恆), who was involved with the procurement of Lafayette frigates, will also be transferred to Taipei Prison, said military units yesterday. Sixty-year-old Guo has been serving a prison sentence for 18 years. Based on old martial law systems, Guo has passed the threshold of parole, and would be able to apply for conditional release. But after the revision of the military justice law, whether he can apply in the future is still unclear, said a local report.

Given that Guo is still being investigated by the Special Investigation Division, he will be transferred with other suspects to Taipei Prison, said the MOJ.

Other high-ranking prisoners include Lieutenant Generals Chen You-wu (陳友武) and Cheng Shih-yu (程士瑜) and Major Generals Chang Jin-de (張晉德) and Luo Sian-jhe (羅賢哲). Chen and Cheng were found guilty of fraudulent claims to public funds, Chang was charged of corruption and Luo for being a spy for mainland China. All of their identities will be verified by relevant authorities after being sent to their new holding facilities, prosecutors said. The rest of the inmates are involved with murders, robberies, forced intercourse and other crimes, and 20 of them have been sentenced to life imprisonment. Generals’ Individual Cells Cancelled In order to avoid the management issues of putting generals with lower-ranking soldiers, military units used to keep the generals in individual cells, said the military law units.

Tainan military prison has several cells specifically designated for generals, which are equipped with televisions and toilet facilities, according to local reports. As for labor services such as making paper bags, the generals were free to decide whether to participate or not, said the military law units.

But after a transfer, this treatment for generals no longer exists. The military will not force any unit to accept former rules of confinement and will respect current principles of the Agency of Corrections, MOJ, said the military. Transfer Under Guard According to the military, 150 Gendarmerie armed with firearms from southern Taiwan provided assistance to this transfer project. Because the moving lines were over 100 kilometers, the Gendarmerie also deployed anti-riot buses with blocking equipment to transfer military prisoners with handcuffs and fetters, said the military. Police vehicles were also deployed to clear the road and provide protection throughout the process, military sources said.