Taiwan man jumps to death over `apocalypse warning`

The 70-year-old suffered from chronic depression.

Updated: May 06, 2011, 16:15 PM IST

Taipei: An elderly Taiwanese man leapt to his death apparently terrified by a `prediction` that the island would soon be destroyed by a giant quake and tsunami, police and media said on Friday.

The 70-year-old, who suffered from chronic depression, jumped from his fifth-floor home in a Taipei suburb on Thursday and died later in hospital, said an officer at a police station nearby.

His family said his condition had worsened after a 9.0-magnitude quake ravaged north-eastern Japan in March and a self-proclaimed local `prophet` alleged Taiwan too would be ruined by a quake and tsunami, the officer said.

`My hair is all white. I have so many worries,` he told his wife shortly before leaping from the balcony of their home, the United Daily News reported.

Taiwanese prosecutors have launched an investigation into the `prophet`, known to the public only as `Teacher Wang`, after his doomsday warning set off a rush to build makeshift shelters from cargo containers.

Prosecutors suspected he might be colluding with companies in the container industry, based on his claim that containers would be safer than regular buildings once the imminent catastrophe took place. More than 100 shelters converted from cargo containers are being built in Puli, a town in central Taiwan, after Wang `predicted` that a quake-induced monster wave would hit Taiwan on May 11, claiming millions of lives.

Bureau Report