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Over 3,000 pay homage at Chinatrust founder's funeral

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- More than 3,000 people, including President Ma Ying-jeou, former President Lee Teng-hui, and foreign dignitaries, attended a funeral service for Jeffrey Koo, Sr., the late founder of the Chinatrust Group, in Taipei yesterday.

President Ma praised the late financier as a giant who had made significant contributions to help expand Taiwan's economic development and international ties.

Ma lauded Koo's generosity as a philanthropist who set a commendable model through establishing charities to help the disadvantaged as well as children in remote regions.

After Taiwan suffered major setbacks, including withdrawing from the United Nations and the International Monetary Fund, Koo took up roles as a presidential adviser and the nation's roving envoy to beef up Taiwan's international position via the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conferences and organizations like the APEC Business Advisory Council and the Confederation of Asia-Pacific Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CACCI), he pointed out.

In his capacity as chairman of the KMT, Ma presented Koo with a posthumous medal of honor. The award, the most distinguished of the KMT's medals, was accepted by Koo's widow, Lin Rui-hui, and eldest son, Jeffrey Koo, Jr., in recognition of his remarkable services to the nation. The ceremony was held at the Taipei International Convention Center.

The convention hall was decorated with a pair of gigantic flying wings to depict Koo's frequent international trips. He once logged 260 days abroad in one year to help strengthen Taiwan's external trade and foreign relations.

Vice President Wu Den-yih, former Vice Presidents Lien Chan and Vincent Siew, Premier Sean Chen, Honorary Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung of the ruling Kuomintang, and domestic business and industry leaders were also among the local participants.

Indonesia's ex-President Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie, former U.S. Ambassador to mainland China Jon M. Huntsman, Jr., Japanese lawmakers and political leaders as well as many other foreign dignitaries also attended the Christian memorial service, showing Koo's close connections with the U.S. Japan, and Asian nations.

Koo, Sr., passed away at a hospital in New York last month at the age of 80 after a battle with serious illness.

The Chinatrust Group currently ranks as one of the largest financial conglomerates in both Taiwan and Asia with extensive banking, insurance, and investment services also covering markets in mainland China and North America.

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Lin Rui-hui, second from left, widow of Chinatrust Group founder Jeffrey Koo, Sr., leads her sons, daughter and a grandson to thank participants at the memorial service held for the late financier. More than 3,000 people, including political and business leaders in Taiwan and from abroad, attended the ceremony that took place at the Taipei International Convention Center, yesterday.(CNA)

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