Ten members of a criminal gang in Ecuador have been detained for questioning on suspicion that they may have a connection to the robbery and shooting of a Japanese couple on their honeymoon last December 28 in Guayaquil. 30-year-old Tetsuo Hitomi died after being shot in the chest while his wife, Mariko, survived the attack and has now gone home to Japan.
The 10 individuals were brought into the local police station on Wednesday. They were also found to be in possession of hand guns and mobile phones that are now being examined by authorities. Ecuadorian interior minister Jose Serrano posted on his Twitter account a picture of the guns and the phones, saying that if they match the bullet left at the scene of the crime, this will be crucial to building a case against them. Police however say that they have not yet confirmed a link between the group and the crime. An official from the Japanese embassy also said that they have not yet received an official report from the Ecuadorian government regarding the incident.
The couple was on their way back to the hotel in a taxi when they were accosted by two armed men who forcibly entered the vehicle. After they got all their belongings, the two were shot and left for dead. Authorities believe the taxi driver was also somewhat involved with the robbers, as it is a common operation in the area. One of the phones retrieved from the criminal gang being questioned contained a message saying, “let’s kidnap foreigners without killing them next time.”
[ via Kyodo ]
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