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3 students killed in California last week could be Taiwanese: MOFA

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday said it is still trying to confirm if three students who were killed by a mass murder suspect near the campus of the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) last Friday in the U.S. are Taiwanese.

MOFA spokeswoman Anna Kao (高安) told local media yesterday that Taiwan's representative office in Los Angeles has been keeping close contact with L.A. police authorities after it learned that three of the total six people killed by mass murder suspect Elliot Rodger last week could be Taiwanese.

“Our office in L.A. has also established contact with UCSB school authorities in an attempt to clarify their identities,” she added.

According to the latest information, the three victims could be of Taiwanese descent, Kao said.

Officials at Taiwan's L.A. office are scheduled to visit Santa Barbara police authorities and UCSB campus today in an attempt to confirm the three students' identities and to offer all available assistance when necessary, she said.

Kao made the comments in response to the announcement made by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff on Sunday regarding the identities of three of the six victims killed by Rodger.

They were identified as 20-year-old James Cheng-yuan Hong of San Jose, who was studying computer engineering; 19-year-old George Chen, also of San Jose; and 20-year-old Weihan Wang of Fremont.

All three victims were identified as UCSB students. They were found stabbed to death, reportedly with multiple stab wounds, in Rodger's apartment.

Sheriff's investigators said they believe Rodger killed the three victims before going on a shooting rampage in Isla Vista around 9:27 p.m. last Friday.

According to his Facebook page, Hong was originally from Taipei. Weihan Wang said on his Facebook page that he was originally from Tianjin, China.

Meanwhile, Chen said in his Facebook that he was from Ottawa, Canada.

The UCSB Taiwan Student Association told Taiwan's Central News Agency yesterday that all three victims had previously attended their regular gatherings before.

The association therefore suspected that all three of them are Taiwanese nationals or of Taiwanese descent.

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This photo shows a screenshot of the headline page from the website of the San Jose Mercury News, taken yesterday. The headline story indicates that three of the seven victims who perished in a rampage shooting incident last Friday evening may have been Taiwanese nationals. A least one victim, Hong Cheng-yuan (洪晟元), a 20-year old engineering student, is confirmed to be Taiwanese. (CNA)

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