Ke Tsi-hai (柯賜海), dubbed the “King of Protests” for his frequent placard protests in the late 1990s and early 2000s, was found dead in a van on Yangmingshan National Park in Taipei on Monday, according to local police. He was 66.
Ke’s death was later confirmed by prosecutors from the Shilin District Prosecutors Office who determined following a forensic examination that no external forces were involved in Ke’s passing.
Prosecutors said Ke’s body was sent back to members of his family who accepted the conclusion that Ke died of natural causes.
Taipei police said they received a call from a woman who identified herself as Ke’s sister at 8:30 a.m. Monday, saying her brother had died in his own van parked on a road in Yangmingshan’s Qianshan Park.
The woman said her brother had lived and slept in the van for a long time, and that he had bumped his head when he fell down Sunday but was unwilling to see a doctor.
The next day she found him laying in the van without vital signs when she brought him food, the police said, citing the sister’s statement.
When police officers arrived at the scene, they found Ke had already been dead for many hours, judging from the stiffness of his body, and felt there was no point to send him to the hospital, police said.
His sister said that her brother had suffered from chronic diseases, the police said.
The 66-year-old Ke was an activist who was notorious for showing up at the scene of news events with protest placards and appearing behind people speaking on camera in TV news reports.
He later faded from view, however, after he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and was involved in disputes with family members over inheritances, according to local media reports.
Ke ran for Taipei mayor in 2006, receiving 3,687 votes, or 0.29 percent of the total, enough to beat out pundit Clara Chou (周玉蔻), who represented the Taiwan Solidarity Union and got 3,372 votes, or 0.26 percent of the total.
Ke also ran for Hualien County magistrate in 2014 and had a respectable showing, finishing third in a six-candidate field with 9.49 percent of the vote.
His protests mostly focused on fighting for the rights of stray dogs when first Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁, 1994-1998) and then Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九, 1998-2006) served as mayor of Taipei.
One of his classic protest slogans was “Ma Ying-jeou, give me my cow back,” a phrase he often shouted in front of TV cameras, after Ma confiscated his cattle, local news reports said.
His last public protest came early this year, when he appealed a Constitutional Court interpretation that said forced labor in correctional institutions was unconstitutional.
Ke objected because the ruling did not specify that people in such facilities had the right to reject working, but the court refused in February to hear his appeal.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel