Sat, Sep 01, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Settlement committee member drowns saving daughter

Staff writer, with CNA

Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee chairman Lin Feng-jeng, second right, and other committee members pay a silent tribute to late committee member Yang Wei-chung in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Chen Yu-fu, Taipei Times

Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee member Yang Wei-chung (楊偉中) drowned while trying to rescue his daughter in a boating accident in the Cook Islands on Thursday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed yesterday.

According to local media reports, Yang’s 11-year-old daughter fell overboard while they were on a boat tour in the Cook Islands and he jumped into the water to rescue her, but perished in the attempt, while she survived.

Politicians across party lines yesterday expressed their condolences.

In a statement, the ministry also expressed regret over Yang’s death, but said that out of respect for the family it would not share any details on the matter.

Officials from Taiwan’s representative office in New Zealand were yesterday to travel to the Cook Islands to meet Yang’s family and offer assistance, the ministry said.

Yang’s body was on Thursday transported to Avarua, the capital of the Cook Islands, accompanied by his wife and daughter. It was not certain when they would return to Taiwan, diplomats in New Zealand said.

The Cook Islands is a self-governing country made up of many islands in the South Pacific Ocean, which maintains free association with New Zealand.

Yang, 47, was a member of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) from 2013 to 2016 and served as the spokesman and deputy director of its Culture and Communications Committee at different times during that period.

He resigned as party spokesman on Jan. 16, 2016, when the party lost the presidential and legislative elections.

Since his resignation, Yang has been forthright in his criticism of the party and its assets.

He was expelled from the party in June 2016 for his frequent critical remarks.

Later the same year, he became a member of the Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee, which was established to handle any inappropriately obtained assets belonging to political parties and their affiliate organizations.

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