Saturday, 28 Nov 2020

Dad with young family dies suddenly in Albert Park on way to jury service

A man is believed to have died in what his family has described as a “freak accident” at Auckland’s Albert Park while on his way to jury service.

Raymond Luo, aged in his mid 30s, leaves behind a grieving widow Flora, a 2-year-old toddler and a month-old baby.

Dr Jacky Lam, who helped create a Givealittle page appealing for support to help the family, said he was informed by the man who found Luo’s body that he could have died from a fall.

“He thinks Raymond could have been looking at Google maps for direction and tried to walk across the greens and not the road path,” Lam said.

“He could have been distracted by the GPS and fell, and possibly knocked his head on a rock or something.”

Lam said Luo’s grieving wife Flora was “certainly not in any position to speak” at the moment and struggling to cope with the sudden loss.

“Some people are saying he died of a heart attack, but Raymond has got no history of any heart problems,” he said.

Police told the Herald it was not treating the death as suspicious at this stage.

A spokeswoman said it was conducting further inquiries into the death on behalf of the coroner.

What made it even more painful for the family, Lam said, was that they found a letter after Luo’s death stating he was not needed for jury duty.

“So it had not even been necessary for Raymond to go to court for jury service on that fateful day,” he said.

Luo was self employed and was the sole breadwinner for the family. He had been running a business selling and supplying mosquito screens for homes.

He met Flora in Tianjin, China, and they got married about three years ago before moving to New Zealand.

Flora holds a partnership visa which is tied to Luo, and is worried that his death could mean she would not get permanent residence.

Both their children are NZ-born, but Lam said they could not access any support from Work and Income NZ because of their mother’s visa status.

“They are now looking at getting ministerial help, and also possibly to fast track Flora’s application so she can have certainty that she can stay and look after her children,” Lam said.

“Both Flora and Raymond don’t come from rich families so she is in quite a desperate situation.”

The couple had recently bought a house in Mt Roskill on mortgage, and Flora had been worried about losing that too.

But the family found out Luo had taken up an insurance policy to cover the mortgage in the event of his death when they contacted the bank to find out how much mortgage was left to pay.

“This came as a big relief for Flora,” Lam said.

“Flora is still recovering from giving birth to her daughter and it’s the worst possible moment for losing her husband.”

“For the family, this is really the darkest moment of their lives.”

Lam said the family was waiting to hear from the Coroner and police on how Luo had died.

As of today, about 500 donors have contributed more than $34,000 through Givealittle.

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