Photo of USTDC courtesy of Les Duffin

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Taiwan in 1975 -- Part 2

Today I'll wrap up my review of the CINCPAC Command History for 1975.

There were several passages discussing weapons systems for the ROC, including those deemed necessary to offset newer systems purchased by the People's Republic. I'll not comment on those because there were only brief references to USTDC. If you're interested, just follow the above link and you can scroll through the entire document.

The only other passages that I found interesting had to do with crime and punishment.

In 1975, the drug threat continued to be amphetamines and barbiturates sold without prescription in Chinese drug stores. The marijuana distribution system was fragmented. Glue-sniffing by pre-teenagers had surfaced again. There was little or no cocaine or hashish use. With the down-island phasedown, the hard drug situation was expected to disappear. Interestingly, the illegal drug situation appeared to be much worse in Okinawa, Korea, the Philippines, Guam and elsewhere in the Pacific region.

The year 1975 was not good for one Air Force Sergeant. I won't use his name here, but the story begins on printed page 743 of the history. I'm not sure what the PDF page is, but if you start somewhere around page 800 or so, you can check the numbers at the bottom of the printed page and go from there.

Anyway, the Sergeant had been sentenced to 18 months imprisonment in January 1973 for the 1972 strangulation murder of a Chinese female. Against the advice of his counsel, he appealed for a retrial and on 12 July 1973, his sentence was changed to five years imprisonment for homicide under a different article of the Chinese criminal code. He appealed again and in November 1973 the case was returned to the Taiwan high court, which reconfirmed a five year sentence in May 1974.

In February 1975, the ROC authorities informed the U.S.Taiwan Defense Command that the sergeant would not be permitted to leave the ROC pending the rehearing in his case which was held on 25 February. After a series of additional appeals and postponements, he was eventually sentenced to ten years imprisonment at Taipei Prison, Tao Yuan, Taiwan in June, 1975. It appears that he shouldn't have appealed his original 18 month sentence.

Now it gets really interesting.

On 28 March 1975, the sergeant's wife (a Chinese national) was arrested by Chinese authorities for attempting to smuggle heroin and marijuana into Taiwan from Thailand. The sergeant requested that his wife be provided with counsel at U.S. Government expense. His unit (6217th Comm Squadron) recommended approval of the request but Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) recommended disapproval and the Air Force Chief of Staff denied the request. After a bit of legal maneuvering, she was sentenced in June 1975 to 15 years in the same Taipei Prison in Tao Yuan where her husband was being held. Her sentence was later reduced to ten years, the same as her husband's, so they were likely released at the same time, but well after all U.S. military forces had been withdrawn from Taiwan.

In this case, the family that did the crimes together did the times together.

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