TAIPEI • Taiwanese actor Ming Dao's older brother was reportedly found dead with his wife and son on Sunday afternoon in a forested area beside a temple in Neihu District, Taipei.
According to Taiwanese news outlet Apple Daily, Ming's brother, a 42-year-old man surnamed Lin, was found hanging from a tree while his 40-year-old wife and their 12-year-old son were found dead beside him. Both reportedly had strangulation marks on their necks - giving rise to speculation that Lin had killed his wife and child in a murder-suicide.
The man's connection to Ming was discovered by Apple Daily as the address of residence on his identity card matched the address of a house that Ming had bought for his mother.
Lin's motorcycle and three helmets were also found near the crime scene.
On Sunday evening, Ming's agency issued a statement confirming the dead man was the actor's brother.
"Currently Ming Dao is very shocked and sad, he knows nothing about the case and is trying to find out what happened," said the statement. He would do his best to help the police with investigations and comfort his family, it added.
While investigations are ongoing, police have discovered messages in Lin's phone that suggested he had more than NT$2 million (S$90,150) worth of debt and had told a friend he had long "lost the will to live".
Ming, whose real name is Lin Chao-chang, had previously opened up about his troubled relationship with his brother in interviews. The 39-year-old said he often had to help his brother pay off debts and felt silly for saving money just for his brother to gamble it away and once called him a "ticking time bomb".
In 2013 and 2016, Ming came under media scrutiny as a result of his brother's actions. Lin had reportedly scammed people into loaning him money, promising that his celebrity brother would pay back his debts if he could not do so. Creditors even went to Ming's promotional events to seek compensation. In response to the scandals, Ming had repeatedly said his brother, as an adult, should be held responsible for his own actions.
Ming is well-known to audiences in the region for his idol drama appearances, including The Prince Who Turns Into A Frog (2005) and The Magicians Of Love (2006), and the 2015 romantic comedy Let's Get Married.
He is also a member of the now-defunct boy band 183 Club.