Failing business may have caused Taiwan family suicide: neighbor

02/08/2015 07:43 PM
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A Taiwanese official (standing) meets Filipino authorities in the aftermath of suicides at the Hsieh household. CNA photo Feb. 8, 2015
A Taiwanese official (standing) meets Filipino authorities in the aftermath of suicides at the Hsieh household. CNA photo Feb. 8, 2015

Manila, Philippines Feb. 8 (CNA) A neighbor of a Taiwanese family that allegedly died in a suicide-murder in the Philippines said Sunday the family may have been driven to despair due to the father's failing business.

The neighbor, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Hsieh Wei-chou (謝維洲), the 50-year-old father who committed suicide with his wife after allegedly killing their three children, ran a business in the Philippines exporting handicrafts.

Hsieh's business was hurt by a ban on trucks imposed by Manila in February 2014, the neighbor said, because it made it hard for importers and exporters to get goods in and out of the city's ports. It was then lifted in September 2014.

According to police, Hsieh had difficulty exporting his products and faced great pressure from his business partners in China and Taiwan.

Facing such problems, Hsieh accumulated debts of 2 million Philippine pesos (US$45,269), according to the neighbor.

It is unclear whether the 2 million peso debt was the only reason behind the murder-suicide, because the sum is not considered a large amount for Taiwanese businesses in the Philippines, other businesses have said.

The alleged murder-suicide has shocked the Taiwanese community in the Philippines, with some remembering Hsieh's children as well-behaved and smart.

Police in San Juan of Metro Manila, where the Hsieh family lived, have set up a special unit to jointly investigate the case with Taiwanese police after discovering the bodies of the family in their home on Saturday.

The preliminary results of the investigation indicate that Hsieh and his wife may have poisoned their 18-year-old daughter and two sons, aged 15 and 12, and wrapped plastic bags over their heads, before committing suicide.

Hsieh said in his suicide note that he "decided to take the whole family away" because he owed a large sum of money at usurious interest rates and had no way of repaying the money.

(By Emerson Lim and Christie Chen)ENDITEM/ls

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