The 54-year-old elder sister and the 52-year-old younger brother pose for a picture with Officer Lin. Photo: National Police Agency

Filipino-Chinese siblings who, around 20 years ago, went in search of a better life in Taiwan but remained poor for two decades, were recently caught off guard by the sudden death of their brother.

The 53-year-old Filipino, who was the third of four siblings, was living alone in Taichung, Taiwan. He had a history of strokes, and was recently pronounced dead at hospital due to an acute myocardial infarction, the China Times reported.

When an officer surnamed Lin from the First Precinct of the Taichung City Government Police Department notified the next of kin, he learned that the dead man’s siblings all lived very hard lives in Taiwan, as they could speak but not read or write Mandarin.

The 54-year-old elder sister and the 52-year-old younger brother earned low monthly salaries of around NT$10,000 (US$325), while the 55-year-old eldest brother was even poorer, categorized as a low-income worker.

Knowing that the family was unlikely to be able to afford the funeral, the Taichung City police referred the case to the district office where the siblings were offered financial aid from a charity to cover funeral expenses.

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