18-yr-old Tibetan waiter found dead in company-owned apartment

By Lobsang Tenchoe

DHARAMSALA May 07: An 18-year-old Tibetan immigrant who works at Amherst Chinese restaurant has reportedly killed himself in a company owned apartment.

Rinzin Namgyal, who works as a waiter at a Chinese owned restaurant was found dead in the apartment on April 24 before his evening shift.

A eulogy written by his co-worker and friend hints at possible harassment at his workplace.

An excerpt of the eulogy is as follows:

“His name is Rinzin. The chef referred to him as the “Tibetan boy”. The one he can yell at for no reasons. The one the manager can easily forfeit his tips for no reasons. His name is Rinzin. He hung himself on April 24th in one of the restaurants in downtown Amherst. His name is Rinzin. No funeral is held. No further investigation is conducted. No news coverage. The restaurant is still running.”

13149881_1163132923731116_452888836_nBut in an interview with the Gazette, the author acknowledged that she did not know if this was the main factor for his death.

But restaurant manager Cathy Wei said “employees are treated like family, this is very hard. We loved him and we can’t understand why he’d do that.”

Mary Carey, spokeswoman for the Northwestern district attorney’s office, said the state police responded at 3:50 pm on April 24 to the apartment but despite calls from the workers center and some Tibetan community members for an inquiry to be conducted she ruled out any foul play and the DA’s office does not plan to launch an investigation into Rinzin’s death.

A prayer vigil in honor of Namgyal to call for “Justice” and stop “workplace harassment and exploitation” was organized by the members of the local Tibetan community and Pioneer Valley Workers Center at 6:30 pm on May 5 at Sweetser Park, beside the restaurant at 62 Main St.

Tenzin Dhardon Sharling, a University of Massachusetts Amherst doctoral candidate who was recently re-elected to the 45-member Tibetan Parliament, said she believes the email eulogy raises enough questions to warrant an investigation and urged the police to dig little further to throw a little light on his life in general.”

Dawa Tsering, vice president of the Amherst Regional Tibetan Association, expressing his faith in the justice system promised to refrain from doing anything to jeopardize the investigation.

“We just want whatever the facts are to come out,” he said.

Rinzin worked at Amherst Chinese Restaurant this summer and then again in April before his alleged suicide. The restaurant owned by Chang family has been involved in a series of legal issues, with concerns over wages paid to employees and living conditions at the apartments it owns.

Amherst Chinese Restaurant, in business for more than 40 years, is temporarily closed as new owners get ready to take it over, according to a manager at the restaurant.


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