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September 25, 2017

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Envoy found stabbed to death in Dominican Republic

A Taiwanese diplomat was found slain in her apartment in the Dominican Republic, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday.

The victim was identified as 55-year-old Julia Ou (區美珍), a secretary of the Overseas Compatriot Affairs Commission (OCAC), posted in the country, MOFA spokesman James Chang said yesterday.

She was found stabbed to death in a bedroom of her apartment on Tuesday, where she lived alone in Santo Domingo, after having failed to show up for work and not answering phone calls.

The police are currently investigating her death, but more details such as possible suspects and motives behind the alleged murder are not yet available, Chang said.

He added that Dominican Republic Foreign Minister Carlos Morales Troncoso called Ambassador Thomas Hou (侯平福) to express his concern following the incident.

Hou requested the help of the country's police to solve the case as soon as possible.

The MOFA has contacted families of Ou in Taiwan and will offer assistance in dealing with the tragedy, including helping them with passport applications and flight bookings to the Caribbean ally, he added.

According to an Associated Press report yesterday, Dominican police said there were no signs of a break-in at the crime scene.

Neither police nor embassy officials said what might have led to the killing. No one has been arrested, the report said.

Unknown Killer

Meanwhile, OCAC Minister Wu Ying-yih (吳英毅) yesterday confirmed Ou's death when asked to comment on the issue by lawmakers in the Legislative Yuan.

Wu said he paid a visit to Ou's family in Taipei soon after he was informed of the tragedy yesterday morning. He was told that the diplomat had worked overtime and was in her office until 10 p.m. the night before she was found dead.

The victim could have been killed by someone who followed her on her way home, said the minister, citing information passed to him by Hou.

The victim's family will be properly compensated for their loss, he added.

According to the OCAC, Ou joined the organization in 1987. Her first overseas assignment was in Guatemala in 2000.

She was the only OCAC staff member stationed at the nation's embassy in the Caribbean ally.

There are around 500 people of Taiwanese descent in the Dominican Republic.

Ou a Tzu Chi Volunteer

Wu Ching-mu (吳進木), director-general of the MOFA's Department of Central and South American Affairs, told reporters that the victim was responsible for overseas compatriot affairs and had served in the Caribbean country for more than a year.

Ou was also a volunteer for the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation, one of Taiwan's biggest charities, and was described by her colleagues as a philanthropist who often helped the needy, Wu said.

Ou Ming-te (區明德), the elder brother of Julia Ou, told reporters in Taipei that his sister was always dedicated to her work and was usually busy on the job.

Ou's brother said he will make a trip to the Dominican Republic to deal with his sister's death.

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