Student at NTU found dead in hall of residence

(UPDATED: 10:50pm, adding more details, statement from NTU)

A student attending a bridging programme at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) was found dead in one of its halls of residence late on Friday night.

Shin Min Daily News identified the student as 20-year-old Lan Xing Ye, who is from Fujian province in China. The paper reported that her roommate returned to the room they shared on the sixth floor of Hall 13 on Friday night to find her motionless on her bed, with a plastic bag over her head.

Police were alerted to the incident at 12:05am, and are currently investigating the case, which they have classified as an unnatural death.

In an email circulated to students in the late afternoon on Saturday, NTU president Bertil Andersson confirmed the incident, saying preliminary police investigations showed there was no sign of forced entry, and that Lan showed no other visible injuries.

He further added that NTU is extending all support and assistance to her family.

The paper also reported that Lan first came to Singapore to study slightly more than a year ago, in December 2010. She reportedly won a scholarship with the Ministry of Education (MOE) and was supposed to choose her major this year after her bridging course at the university, which she started after moving into its hostel a month ago.

The one-and-a-half year bridging programme acts as a preparatory course, which allows international students to take introductory courses in disciplines they may want to major in, and learn English as well.

Lan was also said to have given tuition in her spare time, advertising for students online, possibly for the payment of her school fees.

Her friends told Shin Min that she was cheerful, and showed no signs of any problems, although they added it was possible she may have been stressed from the pressure to do well academically. The paper also reported that Lan's roommate said she suffered from clinical depression.

In a statement, an NTU spokesperson said that professional counsellors with the school are assisting Lan's family, friends, coursemates and residents at Hall 13 who may need help coping with the emotional impact of the tragedy.

"Together with NTU’s President, the management, faculty, staff and students would like to express our deepest sympathies and condolences to the family of the deceased, her course mates and friends during this very trying time," he added.