Tue, Mar 17, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Tragedy strikes as tour party arrives

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

A Taiwanese tour guide died of a heart attack while taking Chinese tourists on a tour of the National Palace Museum yesterday.

Lin Hsien-da (林顯達), 44, collapsed while briefing his group in the museum. He was sent to Yangming Hospital but was pronounced dead upon arrival.

Lin was a tour guide with Apple Tours (永業旅行社), a Taipei-based travel agency that is organizing tours for 12,000 Chinese Amway employees who are coming on nine separate cruises until May 10 on incentives arranged by the company for outstanding workers.

To expedite entry procedures at Keelung Harbor for the groups, five officials from the National Immigration Agency’s Keelung Border Affairs Corps went to Shanghai over the weekend, where they boarded the cruise ship Legend of the Seas to check travel documents.

Upon arrival in Keelung, the tourists boarded 40 tour buses to Taipei City, where they were scheduled to visit the museum and Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall before going shopping in Xinyi District.

The death of their tour guide did not seem to affect their mood. Most took out stacks of cash and snapped up souvenirs. The shopping spree continued later at Taipei 101 and Keelung night market.

The group also met with a protest while they were having lunch at a restaurant. A woman shouted “one country on each side [一邊一國]” and left, spraying water at reporters who tried to film her.

The tourists are expected to go on sightseeing tours to Hualien today and to Taichung tomorrow.

Amway Taiwan was expected to distribute NT$6 million (US$174,400) in coupons to the Chinese employees, in cooperation with businesses in Keelung, Hualien and Taichung.

Meanwhile, Straits Exchange Foundation Deputy Chairman Kao Koong-lian (高孔廉) said yesterday that from the start of this month, an average of 1,300 Chinese tourists had arrived daily.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY CNA

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