Taipei-The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Monday that one of its offices in the United States has contacted police in Alabama about the search for a missing Taiwanese student there and has asked expat Taiwanese groups to provide any information that might be helpful to the process.
Auburn police on Aug. 21 said that Lai Chih-kai (???), a 21-year-old from Taiwan's National Taipei University of Technology (NTUT) who was attending Auburn University as an exchange student, had been reported missing earlier in the week, according to an Alabama news site al.com.
The following day, police released more details about Lai's disappearance, saying he had been reported missing on Aug. 19 by the Auburn Taiwanese Student Association after he failed to show up for class.
Lai, who is studying computer science at NTUT, arrived in the United States from Taiwan on July 24 and last contacted his family on Aug. 17, according to the al.com report.
Police said, however, that they had obtained video surveillance footage of Lai at an Auburn restaurant on Aug. 18.
At the moment, there is no indication of foul play, according to Alabama police, who said they believed that Lai had disappeared of his own accord.
In the police report, Lai is described as an Asian male, 167-cm tall and weighing 77kg, who wears glasses.
Meanwhile, Taiwan's representative office in Atlanta said it was informed about the matter by NTUT and the Taiwanese students' association at Auburn University and had contacted the local police to obtain more information.
The office said it has also asked leaders of Taiwanese groups in Alabama to spread the word in the Taiwanese expat community there about the missing student in order to obtain any relevant information, MOFA spokesperson Joanne Ou (???) said Monday.
The representative office will follow up on the matter and will do everything it can to help find the missing student, Ou said.
In a statement issued on Monday, NTUT said it had lost contact with Lai, as had his parents.
All his belongings, except for his mobile phone, were still in his dorm room and there had been no unusual withdrawals from his bank account, NTNU said.
An NTNU professor will accompany Lai's father to the Alabama this week, the school said, adding that they were scheduled to depart Taiwan on Aug. 28.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel