2 more servicemen detained in Taiwan soldier's death

Hung Tse-yung (top L) stands next to her parents as she holds a portrait of her brother, Hung Chung-chiu during a press conference at parliament in Taipei

TAIPEI, Taiwan - Two more members of the Army's 542nd Brigade were detained Thursday over the death of a corporal, while Taipei police said a group of activists has received permission to hold a protest this weekend.

On the same day that Army Major Hsu Hsin-cheng was detained, the Military Supreme Court approved prosecutors' request to apprehend Army Sergeant First Class Fan Tso-hsien.

Including Hsu and Fan, there have been three servicemen from the 542nd Brigade detained over the death of to-be-discharged Corporal Hung Chung-chiu, who died from heatstroke while in disciplinary confinement. The other military officer from the brigade is Vice Commander and Colonel Ho Chiang-chung.

Meanwhile, Taipei police said that activist group Citizen 1985 has obtained permission to stage a street demonstration on Saturday over Hung's death.

Citizen 1985 issued a statement saying that more than 9,000 people have expressed intent to participate in the rally in front of the Ministry of National Defence (MND) building. The protest is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m.

President Ma Ying-jeou expressed deep regret Thursday over the death of Hung, who died just three days before he was due to be discharged.

Ma said he has directed the MND to get to the bottom of Hung's death.

"The military should learn a lesson from the tragedy and conduct a thorough review of the relevant system to avoid abuse of power," Ma said at an R.O.C. Veterans Association meeting.

Hung died July 3 from heatstroke after a stint in disciplinary confinement. He was sent to the brig June 28 after he was found to be carrying a camera phone in violation of a standing order.

He was due to remain in the brig for a week but on July 3, he collapsed after doing drills under high-temperature conditions and died later in a military hospital.

His death has sparked public outcry.

The MND has since taken a series of steps, including punishment of more than 30 officers and non-commissioned officers, to try to pacify the critics.

A judicial investigation is still under way in which one senior officer and two non-commissioned officers have been taken into custody.

Defence Minister Kao Hua-chu apologised for Corporal Hung's death again yesterday. Kao bowed in a gesture of remorse for the tragic incident at a news conference organised by the ruling Kuomintang's legislative caucus to demand a speedy probe of the case and compensation for the family of the dead man.

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