Army colonel indicted over faulty armor distribution

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Army colonel indicted over faulty armor distribution

Prosecutors announced on Tuesday that an Army colonel who formerly was in charge of allocating ammunition at the Special Warfare Command has been indicted over suspicions that he distributed faulty bulletproof vests to soldiers in 2010.

The 49-year-old, only identified by his surname Jeon, was also given a detention order for rigging performance-test results for the product.

Also arrested Tuesday was a 43-year-old lieutenant colonel surnamed Park, who is suspected to have served as Jeon’s accomplice in the scheme. Prosecutors will decide whether to indict him after further investigation.

Jeon stands accused of accepting bribes from a bulletproof vest manufacturer in May 2010 to advocate for the efficiency of its products to his superiors. Prosecutors said they have collected testimony from a battalion commander familiar with the case, who claimed he had told Jeon at that time that the vests were low-grade and that the lives of the soldiers would be at risk.

Jeon is said to have “neglected” that opinion, however, and forwarded only positive feedback to the Special Warfare commander to provide leverage for the company to win the bid.

From 2010 to 2012, nearly 2,100 bulletproof vests from the company, worth some 1.3 billion won ($1.18 million) total, are estimated to have been distributed to the Army Special Warfare Command.

BY LEE YU-JUNG, LEE SUNG-EUN [selee@joongang.co.kr]



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