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Foundation pledges to help family of Taiwan businessman who died in China

07/07/2024 05:01 PM
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The Straits Exchange Foundation in Taipei. CNA file photo
The Straits Exchange Foundation in Taipei. CNA file photo

Taipei, July 7 (CNA) A semi-official organization tasked by Taiwan's government with handling technical matters involving China has said it has offered to help the family of a Taiwanese businessman who died in China last month handle matters relating to his death.

The Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) said in a Friday press statement that it contacted the family of Lu Hung-chieh (盧泓傑) in Taiwan to offer assistance after learning he died in an accident on June 21 in China.

The SEF said it will help Lu's family apply for a death certificate and deal with other related technical issues in China in the wake of his death.

It also pledged to provide legal assistance to Lu's family if necessary when it comes to exercising their rights to inherit his property in China.

The SEF statement was released after Lu's family and friends told local media they were suspicious about his death and the fact he was cremated just three days after the accident.

A friend of Lu surnamed Hsu (許) told CNA on Thursday that Lu was a Pingtung native who moved to China in the late 1990s. He married a Chinese wife and founded Chengdu Ebony Museum of Arts in Sichuan Province to showcase his ebony collection.

According to the museum's website, its founder was in the real estate business but fell in love with ebony in 1991 while working in Chengdu and had since spent a fortune collecting thousands of ebony artifacts.

The museum was first established by Lu in 2000 at a cost of 300 million Chinese yuan (US$41.2 million) as a private museum before opening to the public in 2011.

Hsu told CNA that Lu made a small fortune in China and had wanted to hand over his business to his son. However, his son died two years ago.

When Lu returned to Taiwan earlier this year, he told Hsu that he wanted to transfer all his assets in China back to Taiwan but was allegedly stopped by the Chinese government.

Hsu said Lu apparently died in an accident while operating a crane to transport a piece of large ebony on June 21.

He said Lu's death and his cremation three days later is "somewhat suspicious," hinting there could be foul play involved without providing any evidence.

Lu's niece Lu Wen-shin (盧玟欣), a Pingtung County councilor, told CNA that Lu told her when they met during the Lunar New Year break in February that he had wanted to bring his ebony collections from China to Taiwan.

Lu did not tell her why, but said he had faced difficulties in sending back his collection because the Chinese government was "pretty unreasonable," according to the councilor, without elaborating.

The SEF is a semiofficial organization set up by the Republic of China (Taiwan) government to handle technical and/or business matters with the People's Republic of China (PRC).

Its counterpart in the PRC is the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits.

(By Wu Po-wei, Huang Yu-ching and Joseph Yeh)

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