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Monday, August 29, 2016, 13:51

3 charged in fatal missile shot

By China Daily

3 charged in fatal missile shot
Navel vessels follow a domestically constructed guided missile corvette during a drill at sea near the naval port in Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan on Jan 27, 2016. (AFP PHOTO / Sam Yeh)

Three naval personnel from Taiwan have been indicted for a fatal missile misfiring incident last month, the Kaohsiung District Prosecutors Office said on Monday.

Naval officer Kao Chia-chun was charged with negligence leading to death and injuries, as well as damaging weaponry.

His supervisor Chen Ming-hsiu and Hsu Po-wei, a lieutenant who was responsible for overseeing weapons, were charged with neglecting official public duties leading to a catastrophe, the prosecutors said.

The Hsiung-Feng III (Brave Wind) missile was launched in error from a corvette battleship in Zuoying Harbor in Kaohsiung, authorities in Taiwan said. It hit a trawler from the island on July 1, killing the skipper and injuring three other crew members.

Prosecutors in Kaohsiung said on Monday that Kao had been left alone in the main control room for as long as seven minutes.

The incident was caused by what an initial investigation found to be human error by officers on the corvette Chinchiang.

Island authorities blamed the misfiring on the failure of personnel to follow procedures during a test.

The misfiring, the biggest military error in Taiwan since the island's new leader Tsai Ing-wen took office in May, sparked uproar and drew a stern rebuke from the Chinese mainland.

Zhang Zhijun, head of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, said in July, "The incident occurred and had a severe impact at a time when the mainland had repeatedly emphasized safeguarding peaceful development of cross-Straits relations based on the political foundation of the 1992 Consensus."

This states that the mainland and Taiwan are parts of one China.

Responding to media questions, Zhang said that authorities in Taiwan should give an explanation for the incident.

Xinhua and AFP contributed to this story.

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