Boro Chinese mourn couple slain at home

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Flushing residents and political leaders mourned Josephine and Shan Lin this week, an influential Republican couple well-known among Flushing's Chinese community who were found murdered in their Brooklyn apartment on Jan. 28.

The pair, who brought the borough's Asian community into closer contact with the Republican establishment in the state, founded an immigrant church on Bowne Street nearly two decades ago.

At about 10:30 p.m. on Jan. 28, police responded to a call from the Lins' son, Samuel, reporting an assault at the Lins' apartment at 29 Moore St. in Williamsburg, authorities said.

Both Josephine Lin, 65, and Shan Lin, 70, were found with plastic bags covering their heads and bound in duct tape, police said.

Both died from compression of the neck and being smothered, said Ellen Borakove, a spokeswoman for the city medical examiner.

There was no signs of forced entry into the apartment, police said.

On Monday, police released sketches of three suspects in the case.

The suspects were described as slim Asian men in their 20s or 30s, wearing sunglasses, black leather jackets and black pants.

Friends in Flushing remembered the immigrants from Taiwan as a peaceful and well-liked couple.

Ellen Young, a Queens Democratic district leader and Chinese talk show host, said she broke out crying when she heard the Lins, longtime friends of hers, had been murdered.

"They are very special characters," Young said. "They never talk about how much they help."

Josephine Lin was known for her support for Republican Gov. George Pataki. When Pataki first ran for office in 1994, she organized GOP fund-raisers for his campaign in Flushing and Chinatown.

Young, a Flushing resident, recalled teaming up with Josephine Lin to help boost business in Chinatown after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

"She and I organized 1,000 guests to come to downtown and spend money there right after 9/11," Young said. "We crossed party lines to do things together."

Josephine Lin, who had a career in insurance for many years, helped link the city's Chinese community with the governor, said Jean Ren, who worked with Josephine Lin in the Chinese-American Voters Association.

"In the old days, [the Republicans] never wanted us to get involved," Ren said. "They only wanted money, they never wanted us showing our face. [Josephine] made us have a direct contact with Gov. Pataki. Since then, we became directly involved in the campaign."

Both Lins were known to frequent karaoke clubs in Flushing, Ren said.

"She loved to sing and her husband loved to sing," Ren said.

The Lins, the parents of three daughters and a son, were religious Protestants, friends said.

The couple founded the Boon Church of Overseas Chinese Mission in Flushing 17 years ago. Since then, Shan Lin had worked for various Chinese Christian organizations.

Shan Lin was also active in the New York chapter of the alumni association of Taiwan's Sochow University.

"If you had some problem, he tried to help you," said Larry Lee, the former president of the New York chapter. "We're very sorry for this thing to happen."

Councilman John Liu (D-Flushing) said the couple was well-known in Flushing, Chinatown and their Brooklyn neighborhood.

"It's a loss for the community," he said. "They were active. They spoke out on issues. Josephine gave me a lot of guidance."

Reach reporter Alexander Dworkowitz by e-mail at or call 718 229-0300, Ext. 141.

Posted 7:02 pm, October 10, 2011
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