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Taiwanese convict in Philippines dies in custody

MANILA -- The body of a Taiwanese man who died while serving a prison sentence in the Philippines for drug trafficking was cremated Wednesday and his ashes will be sent back to Taiwan in the near future, Taiwan's representative office in the Philippines said.

The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines confirmed to CNA on Wednesday that the man, identified only by his surname Chen, died on his way from his prison to a hospital on June 13. He was 60.

Chen was arrested by Filipino investigators in Makati, Metro Manila, in December 2008. The investigators also seized amphetamines, raw materials and equipment for producing narcotics and several unlicensed guns at his home.

He was then convicted and sent to New Bilibid Prison, a prison for people who commit felonies, according to the Philippine government.

Chen had heart disease and was kept in the prison's intensive ward. When his condition worsened in early June, some of his relatives rushed to the Philippines on June 11 to apply on his behalf to receive treatment outside the prison.

The request was granted on June 13, but Chen died of a heart attack on the same day on his way to the hospital.

Based on available information, there are dozens Taiwanese drug traffickers and telephone fraudsters who are currently being held in Filipino detention centers or prisons.

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