Tragic news out of Shenzhen as two foreigners were found dead last week under mysterious circumstances.
One man has been identified as Damien Douk, a French national in China designing a smartwatch. Douk’s Facebook page has more than 130,000 followers and several video uploads of him demonstrating the watch he was developing.
The second man was Sean van Niekerk, a 23 year-old South African native in town on an internship. His mother has flown into Shenzhen via Hong Kong to aid in the investigation.
The two men were found in the same place, but the connection between the two is still unclear.
According to the Shenzhen Daily, the cause of death for both men is unconfirmed, but a friend of Niekerk’s said the police at Tian’an Police Station speculated that the pair may have had a lethal combination of food and alcohol poisoning, though a spokesperson from the Tian’an station stated that they were investigating the case and could not release any details yet. Yet another speculation is that the two drank counterfeit alcohol, which is prolific in Chinese markets. The French consulate has not received any information about the deaths.
The tragic incident echoes another mysterious death in China of an Australian national two years ago. The man, Neal Mason, was said to have been indulging in baijiu at a company banquet just before he fell unconscious. His wife believes that homemade baijiu was to blame for his untimely death.
Overconsumption of alcohol has been a prevalent social problem of China in recent years. The “ganbei” culture encourages drinkers to a dry glass. Earlier this year, a Chinese mayor was fired for excessive drinking at a banquet in which one woman died from alcohol poisoning.
By Mary DeMay