Fri, Sep 29, 2017 - Page 1 News List

Taipei councilor falls to his death

By Chiu Chun-fu, Kuo An-chia and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei City Councilor Lee Hsin speaks during a question-and-answer session at the Taipei City Council on June 8.

Photo: Chang Chia-ming, Taipei Times

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei City Councilor Lee Hsin (李新) yesterday morning died after falling from a high-rise apartment in an apparent suicide, police and investigators said.

At about 5am, Lee, 64, plunged from his ex-wife’s 11th-floor residence in a residential complex on Taipei’s Anhe Road.

A resident of the unit below said he heard a noise and looked outside to see Lee standing on a ledge with his hands on the railing, eyes looking down.

“I asked him: ‘What are you doing out there?’ Then he just jumped,” the neighbor said.

Paramedics found Lee dead at the scene.

Police closed down the area to collect evidence and escorted Lee’s ex-wife, who was in shock, to Cathay General Hospital for treatment.

Lee might have been depressed by a chronic illness and by his girlfriend having asked to live separately from him, a source said on condition of anonymity.

KMT Taipei City Council caucus secretary-general Chen Yung-te (陳永德) said Lee had attempted suicide on Sept. 17, the night before the city council session began.

Lee took “50 or 60 sleeping pills” and was sent to a hospital, which discharged him the next day, Chen said.

The next day he went to work and attended a party caucus meeting, but appeared “sallow,” he added.

“He talked about his health repeatedly and did not seem to be his normal self,” Chen said.

KMT Taipei City Councilor Wang Hung-wei (王鴻薇) said Lee had shingles, but she did not expect him to kill himself.

She said that on Wednesday night she gave Lee a bill on preschool education to cosign, adding that he told her: “It is high time this gets done.”

Lee was a candidate in this month’s KMT Central Committee election, but had said he might have to withdraw due to stress and poor health, Wang said.

“Running for a seat on the central committee is not something you join and do not finish, but my understanding is that he was suffering physically,” she said.

KMT Legislator Lee Yen-hsiu (李彥秀) said she would remember Lee Hsin as a brave and honest man.

“Lee Hsin’s dedication to the city and the nation will not be forgotten. I hope his family will take care of themselves and I am grateful to have worked with him,” Lee Yen-hsiu said.

Lee Hsin did not leave a note behind prior to his apparent suicide, sources said.

New Party Chairman Yok Mu-ming (郁慕明) said Lee Hsin’s ailing health might have contributed to his suicide, as he had complained about it.

Yok said that Lee Hsin, who was his assistant when Yok was a lawmaker, had reached out to him in the past few days, but he was too busy to schedule an appointment.

He said he regrets not having talked to Lee Hsin before his death, as Lee Hsin had supported him 29 years ago during a difficult period of chemotherapy.

“His death causes me great sadness and regret,” Yok said. “He did not spell things out to me at the time. He only said: ‘My health has been extremely poor lately.’”

“We hope his family will get through this,” he added.

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