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September 26, 2017

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1 killed in California confirmed to be Taiwanese

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- One of the victims that was killed during the mass murder near the campus of the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) last Friday in the U.S. is of Taiwanese descent, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) confirmed yesterday.

The ministry made the confirmation after Taiwanese officials at its representative office in Los Angeles paid a visit to Santa Barbara police authorities on early Monday, MOFA spokeswoman Anna Kao (高安) said at a news briefing yesterday.

"It has been confirmed that one of the victims is of Taiwanese descent," Kao said.

Citing privacy reasons, the spokeswoman would not disclose further details on the identity of the victim.

She added that the victim's family prefers not to be disturbed by media in the wake of the tragedy.

Taiwanese officials in L.A. expressed condolences to the victim's family and promised to offer all available assistance to them, she added.

Though the ministry did not make public the identity of the Taiwanese student, local media reported yesterday that the victim is the 20-year-old Hong Cheng-yuan (洪晟元).

According to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Sunday announcement, Hong and another two fellow UCSB students; 19-year-old George Chen and 20-year-old Weihan Wang, were found stabbed to death, reportedly with multiple stab wounds, in Rodger's apartment last Friday.

Rodger killed the three before going on a shooting rampage in Isla Vista, killing another three people. The suspect later committed suicide, according to reports.

According to their Facebook pages, Hong was originally from Taipei, Wang from Tianjin, China, and Chen from Ottawa, Canada. All of them now have U.S. citizenship.

Local media reported that Hong graduated from an elementary school in Taipei's Neihu District eight years ago before he moved to L.A. to continue his study in the U.S.

Family's Plea

Meanwhile, in the latest post on Hong's Facebook page, a person who claimed to be a family member of Hong said he was "very kind and considerate ever since he was a small child."

The victim was also a vegetarian, not because of religion, but because "he cannot bear to harm another living creature," said in the post.

"James' (Hong's) biggest goal is to make the world a better place through his own efforts. He made the ultimate sacrifice. I plead with everyone to take this opportunity to make the campus a safer place to prevent future tragedies like this, so James can rest in peace knowing that he accomplished his dream through his sacrifice."

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