Military officials have promised to launch an investigation into the death of a corporal in Tainan, who allegedly committed suicide due to bullying by his superiors.
The corporal, surnamed Liu (柳), who was stationed at the Eighth Army Command’s 203rd Brigade in Danei District (大內), was already dead when he was found by fellow soldiers hanging inside the barracks on Thursday last week.
“We have asked the judiciary to conduct an investigation, with which we are fully cooperating. The rumors about bullying are mere speculation. People with knowledge about the case can present their evidence directly to judicial investigators,” Major General Chang Wei-hsin (張維新) of the Eighth Army Command told reporters yesterday.
“The commanders did not like Liu, and often scolded him and subjected him to verbal abuse, so many of the other soldiers in the camp looked down on him,” a soldier who had befriended Liu told reporters.
“They also handed Liu many tasks, much more than other soldiers, so he could not rest properly, even on his time off and holidays. Liu told us that he was under severe pressure, and exhausted both physically and mentally. It was definitely bullying by army officers that drove him to suicide,” he said.
The military has promised reform for many years, but practically nothing has changed and incidents of bullying by officers mostly get swept under the carpet, critics said, adding that military leaders say nice things in public, but strongly resist increased transparency and accountability.
They pointed to a string of recent incidents of alleged bullying, such as a soldier at the 206th Brigade in Hsinchu County who had many bruises when he visited home on leave earlier this month.
He told his parents that he did not want to return to his unit because he was constantly beaten by his superior officers, who he said despised him.
In another case in April, a lieutenant surnamed Huang (黃) allegedly committed suicide in the barracks of the 269th Brigade in Taoyuan, reportedly after frequent bullying and physical punishment by his superiors.
His parents have presented evidence to the Control Yuan and asked that it conduct an investigation.
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