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   Fri, December 19, 2003

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Suicide shocks Winnipeg promoter's pals
By KATIE CHALMERS - Winnipeg Sun

Friends of former Premier Championship Wrestling owner John Nguyen will remember the 29-year-old who committed suicide earlier this week as a fun-loving and caring person, says a Winnipeg boxing promoter. Nguyen, a slick local businessman who was charged with bilking American companies out of millions of dollars, died on Monday when he jumped from a fifth-floor window of the Maryland Hotel.

Winnipeg police found a suicide note.

Nguyen's sudden death has left friends wondering why he would take his own life, said promoter Murray Brace.

"We were absolutely devastated. We couldn't believe it. Nobody can," Brace said. "We saw him on Sunday afternoon for coffee. He was fine."

Nguyen's Winnipeg-based telemarketing company -- National Info-Tech Centre -- was raided by RCMP in November 2002. The call centre was allegedly involved in deceptive telemarketing to businesses throughout the United States. Nguyen and three workers were charged with fraud over $5,000 .

The case was continuing through the courts when Nguyen committed suicide.

"I find the good in everybody. I didn't have to look deep down to find the good in John. It was glowing all the time. He was a good person. I'm proud to say he was my friend," said Brace, who didn't want to comment on the fraud charges against Nguyen. "We knew Johnny socially. His business was his business."

Nguyen's suicide came as a shock and left his large circle of friends devastated, said Brace.

"It's mind boggling. There is a lot of people who are very very hurt with his passing," he told The Sun.

Nguyen is survived by his wife of three years, a young son, his parents and a brother, said Brace, who knew him for two years.

"He was a good father, a great son, a fantastic brother and an outright giving person. He was a ray of light to anybody who met him," Brace said.

Known several years ago as a flashy, self-made millionaire, Nguyen bought Winnipeg-based Premier Championship Wrestling but pulled out six months later.

He was passionate about wrestling, boxing, cars and was psyched about a venture in the works to create another Winnipeg-based, international company, Brace said.