Suicidal Immigrant Owed $33 Million

MONDAY, JAN. 8, 1996

An immigrant who killed himself and his family owed at least $33 million to creditors in Taiwan and may have been targeted by gangsters hired to collect it.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police are going though James Huang’s papers for clues to the carnage that shocked this Vancouver suburb Friday, but an acquaintance said news reports in Taiwan show Huang fled the country after the collapse of a retail business investment he had engineered.

“This guy got involved in a big, big economic scandal,” said Kwan Ying Kuo of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Vancouver.

Kuo said disgruntled investors engaged the Taipei mob to get their money back.

Early Friday morning Huang, 40, shot his wife Jane, 40, daughters Rebecca, 15, and Amber, 9, and his mother, Tsai Chin Chi Huang, 68, who arrived from Taiwan the day before. Then he shot himself.

Only Huang’s 4-year-old son Jeff escaped. He was rushed out of the family’s home by his badly wounded mother before her husband dragged her back into the house. A neighbor in the upscale townhouse complex rescued the boy, who is now with relatives.

Police said notes found among Huang’s papers indicated he was depressed.

The notes, written in Mandarin, did not explain why Huang was depressed. Henley said police had begun interviewing family and friends about Huang’s financial background.

According to Taiwanese news accounts, Huang made millions as a building contractor before opening The Standard, a department store that sold expensive European fashions, Kuo said.

To finance the venture, Huang issued shares worth about $11,000 each to 3,000 investors. Some investors may have bought more than one share.

The store went broke and closed in June, a month after its opening, a victim of Taiwan’s economic downturn.


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