Chinese pilot fan Yuan Fen who defected with a Mig-19 fighter on July 7 has become a lieutenant colonel in the Taiwan air Force.
Chinese pilot fan Yuan Fen who defected with a Mig-19 fighter on July 7 has become a lieutenant colonel in the Taiwan air Force. He received his new rank and uniform from General Sung Chan-chi in Taipei on Friday (15 July).
Fan Yuan Yen is the first defector from the Chinese air force to bring his plane to Taiwan since 1962. He is believed to have been planning the flight for some time.
SYNOPSIS: The General himself greeted Fan Yuan Yen with a salute when he arrived for the ceremony.
It was held in the capital's armed forces cultural centre where the 41-year old squadron leader took the oath of allegiance to his new homeland. When he flew his Mig-19 to Taiwan during a training mission, he said life in China was miserable and that he couldn't stand it any longer. He was based in the Fukien province in eastern China and said he had left behind a wife and three children. He received warm applause from the 1,500 members of Taiwan's armed forces who made up the audience.
Fan is receiving more than a new home in return for his defection. The Taiwan government also presented him with 5,000 ounces of gold, worth about 800,000 American dollars. But despite this windfall, he wants to continue his military career.
Fan briefly left the stage to change into his new Taiwanese uniform while various citations were being read. He returned to receive the rank of lieutenant colonel from General Sung Chan-chi. The general also presented him with a gallantry medal for flying his plane to Taiwan, and then paid a tribute to him in his concluding speech. Earlier, Fan announced that he had left the Chinese communist party forever. The basic model of the Mig-19 he was flying was first built in the Soviet Union during the '50s, and the aircraft is not regarded as much of an intelligence prize.