A Greater Kaohsiung man who helped police apprehend the alleged culprit in a robbery on Tuesday reportedly died from a spike in blood pressure caused by giving chase to the suspect, although an autopsy will be conducted to determine the cause of death, the Kaohsiung Police Department said.
Kuo Tien (郭添), 61, had been chatting with friends in a park near where a break-in occurred and immediately chased after the alleged suspect, Kuo Nan-chun (郭南君), a 41-year-old man with a record of attempted rape.
Kuo Nan-chun had reportedly tried to break into an apartment building on Li Sin Road in Fengshan District (鳳山).
Kuo Nan-chun had forced his way into the building, saying he was trying to collect a debt, but one of the residents, a woman surnamed Chang (張), felt that something was off about his story and ran to the second-floor landing, broke the windows there and started shouting for help.
Kuo Nan-chun reportedly made off with a purse containing NT$17,000 in bank notes, ID cards and a cellphone, but Kuo Tien heard the call for help and ran after Kuo Nan-chun, calling for him to stop.
After 400m, Kuo Tien was joined by two men, surnamed Chen (陳) and Wang (王), and all three helped bring Kuo Nan-chun down before calling the police.
According to Chen, he and his cousin, Wang, had been eating in their home when they heard Kuo Tien calling out that there was a thief.
When they tackled Kuo Nan-chun, he was hitting Kuo Tien, Chen said, adding that he and his cousin pulled him off of Kuo Tien.
By the time police arrived on the scene, Kuo Tien had gone into shock.
He was sent to a local hospital, but did not survive.
Police said it was not clear if Kuo Tien’s death was the result of his 400m run and taking several blows from Kuo Nan-chun, but that the autopsy should settle the matter.
Greater Kaohsiung Deputy Mayor Chen Chi-yu (陳啟昱), along with Greater Kaohsiung City Police Department Chief Huang Mao-suei (黃茂穗) and Fengshand Police Precinct chief Liu Sheng-yuan (劉勝元), paid a visit to Kuo Tien’s family on Wednesday on behalf of Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) and presenting the family with a donation of NT$100,000.
The city government would do everything in its power to resolve the matter, Chen Chi-yu said.
Huang said Kuo Tien had been very brave and had even outperformed the police.
The city government would pay for Kuo Tien’s funeral and compensate the family in accordance with the city’s Act for Compensating and Rewarding Citizens aiding in the Capture of Criminals (獎勵及補償民眾拘捕人犯自治條例), police said.
Wu Chin-chih (吳金池), warden of the borough in which Kuo Tien lived, said that Kuo Tien was a former mason and had put great stock in helping others.
His wife passed away two decades ago and his three children are all adults, Wu said, adding that despite their limited income, Kuo Tien and his children were always willing to help out.
Kuo Tien’s daughter said it was not the first time her father had helped police capture a criminal, but due to his cardiovascular disease and declining health, she had tried to tell him that he should not be running around as if he were still a young man.