Abode seeker Lam Siu-sing, who became a human torch in the Immigration Tower blaze, had asked a friend to write suicide notes for him more than a month before his death. 'It never crossed my mind that he really wanted to die,' the friend told the Sunday Morning Post. The friend, who said he was once an abode seeker, said Lam told him he was going to take paint thinner to Room 1301 in Immigration Tower on the day of the fire. Lam, 26, incurred fatal injuries in the blaze that ripped through Room 1301 on August 2, 2000. He died in hospital of burns nine days later. Lam had a son, now seven, on the mainland and came to Hong Kong in April 1999 on a two-way permit to visit his parents. He then overstayed and became a regular - albeit low-key - figure in demonstrations. About six weeks before the blaze, Lam approached his friend with a strange request. 'He asked me to write him his suicide notes. He did not say why,' he said. 'I told him that his turn was yet to come. I scolded him and he was quite upset. 'He then challenged me to jump with him from the bridge outside the Immigration Tower . . . which I dared not do,' the friend said, adding that he did not write the suicide notes for Lam. Lam did not leave a suicide note, and his father, Lam Shek-lun, is adamant his son did not take his own life. But his father would not be drawn into a conversation about the incident or his son, because 'nothing can be done to bring him back to life'. Evidence that emerged at the trial of the seven men accused of his murder was inconclusive and prosecutors considered suicide as an issue at the trial. On July 27, a week before the incident, Lam was said to have faked a suicide attempt during a protest outside the Immigration Tower. He swallowed a can of 'poison' that turned out to be a soft drink. Immigration records showed that Lam visited the immigration office in Central to renew his recognisance, or temporary permit, less than three hours before the blaze. Lam, who donned a camouflage hat and was captured on video sitting quietly most of the time, was said to have supplied bottles of thinner to at least two of the abode seekers. 'Really have to die' were his only - and last - words recorded on tape about three minutes before the blaze, when he became a human torch. His friend said nobody could tell if Lam had died at his own hands. 'Siu-sing was a quiet person. You just would not expect him to take the lead in any confrontation . . . I could only say that if he did, it was not usual behaviour for him. He would have had to have acted on impulse,' he said. 'I do not know who lit the fire that day, but I do not think it was Siu-sing.' The jury must have discounted the suicide theory, which, had they accepted it, would have cleared the accused of the charge of murdering Lam. Thinking that he might have gone to Room 1301 on that day had it not been for work commitments, Lam's friend said he could not help but consider himself lucky. 'I told them not to take thinner there,' he said. 'They said they would just threaten to drink it to scare the immigration officers. 'Had I gone, I might have also died. Why would something like this happen when all they wanted was an identity card?'