Tue, May 03, 2005 - Page 4 News List

Dead comedian's identity to be confirmed by DNA

SAD ENDING When entertainer Ni Min-jan was found dead, it was impossible for his family to recognize him

STAFF WRITER

Officials from the Ilan District Prosecutors' Office said that they are having a DNA test made on the body of veteran entertainer Ni Min-jan (倪敏然) in order to make a final confirmation of his identity.

Prosecutors said that they already collected DNA samples from Ni and his two younger sisters, Ni Chien-chien (倪茜茜) and Ni Bei-bei (倪蓓蓓), on Sunday evening.

The DNA samples were immediately sent to the Prosecutors' Office for the Taiwan High Court (高檢署). The results are expected to be released within the next few days.

On Sunday afternoon, police at Ilan's Toucheng Township received a report about a male who had hanged himself on a tree in an abandoned orchard. They found Ni's identification in his wallet, indicating the body was that of the comedian.

Ni had been dead for about 10 days when he was found, and his face and body had swollen and could hardly be recognized by family members. A DNA test was therefore necessary to confirm his identity.

Ni had reportedly been missing for more than two weeks. He admitted that he had suffered from depression and had trouble sleeping. Ni was having financial and family problems. He was experiencing a low point in his acting career, while having an extramarital affair with Chinese actress Xia Yi (夏禕) who now works in Taiwan.

Although Xia repeatedly denied the rumored affair, she admitted it during a telephone interview with the tabloid Apple Daily on Sunday. According to Xia, she dated Ni for a while after he told her that he had already divorced his second wife, Lee Li-hua (李麗華). Lee herself was also a well-known actress before she married Ni and retired in 1985. But Xia broke up with Ni after she found out that he had not really divorced his wife.

"I was also reluctant to give up," Xia said. "But he had a family. How could I possibly be with him?"

"Let's not talk about this anymore since he has gone," Xia said. "Maybe he had no choice but to lie about his marital status. But he was still a good man."

But Yu Tien (余天), a popular Taiwanese singer and a good friend of Ni, said that his friend did not lie about his marriage.

"Ni did not cover up his marital status from Xia. She should have come back as soon as possible to clarify the matter," Yu complained to the media.

Yu confirmed that Ni did have some financial difficulties, and had recently borrowed NT$300,000 from him to pay his debts.

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