By BEH YING HUI, RASHITHA A. HAMID and ANN TAN
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia: Three Malaysian women on holiday were among seven people killed in a fire at a budget hotel in Taiwan yesterday.
Authorities in Taipei identified them as clerk Chin Seok Ling, 26, from Penang, Lee Loo Yee, 37, from Puchong, Selangor and Low Mee Sim, 40, from Cheras here.
Their family members are off to Taiwan today to identify the remains.
The women had checked into the White Snow Hotel, located in a 36-year-old building, on Taiyuan Road in downtown Taipei last Saturday. They were to return to Malaysia on Friday.
Seok Ling's eldest sister Seok Chern said the family were praying that the authorities had mistakenly identified her.
It is learnt that one of Seok Ling's friends in Kaoshiung saw the fire on television and went to the scene to confirm the case. She then informed the Chin family.
Seok Chern said her sister only told her that she was going to Taiwan for a holiday.
Low's husband Mike Boo said his wife's last contact was an SMS which said she was in Taipei.
According to Taiwan media reports, the hotel used wooden panels to separate the rooms, thus forming 10 tiny rooms on each floor.
The hotel, which charges about NT$500 ($22.05) per night, was home to mostly lonely elderly people, including those relocated by the city's Social Walfare Department.
Peggy Chou, director of the information division at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Malaysia, said they had informed the families of the deceased and her office would provide any assistance to the families.
Lee's family refused to talk to reporters when met at her house in Puchong. She was married with a child.
Their charred bodies were found in the bathroom of a guest room on the second floor of the four-storey building. The others, all Taiwanese, were aged between 26 and 92. -The Star/ANN