Former Taiwanese lawmaker found dead in motel

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmaker was found dead in a Kaohsiung motel, yesterday.

Police suggested that the cause of death may have been a heart attack.

Former Legislator Chu Hsing-yu was found lying in a bathtub, half naked, in a motel in Kaohsiung's Sanmin District yesterday at 8:30 a.m., police said, adding that he had apparently been dead for some time.

There were no signs of foul play and no weapons were found at the scene, police said.

Two bottles of Kaoliang, a distilled liquor made from sorghum, and some sleeping pills were found in the room.

Police suspect that Chu may have died of a heart attack after drinking the alcohol. Investigations into the cause of his death are ongoing.

Chu checked into the motel last Wednesday, his assistant told police.

The two were supposed to meet yesterday around 8 a.m. but Chu never showed up, police said.

According to local media, Chu's friend told police that the ex-lawmaker previously said he was upset after recently being conned out of more than NT$10 million (S$336,400) from an acquaintance.

Chu's friend, however, said that the former DPP legislator would never commit suicide over money, the Chinese-language United Evening News said.

Grassroots Lawmaker

The 57-year-old Chu was a former lawmaker under the DPP's banner for four terms.

Born in Gushan, Kaohsiung City, Chu was the son of a cement worker. Chu started public service at a relatively young age when he took over the position of ward chief after his father became ill with lung disease.

He was known for his popularity among Kaohsiung locals.

Chu left the DPP in 2003 after a dispute with its legislative caucus over a draft proposal. He later left politics and lived a secluded life in Kaohsiung's mountainous area until he was baptized a Christian and dedicated himself to church services.

After learning the news, lawmakers close to Chu all expressed regret over his death. They praised Chu as a straightforward and passionate person.

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