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Honeymooner killed in Ecuador

Kyodo, JIJI

A Japanese man died after he and his wife were attacked last week by robbers in Guayaquil, Ecuador, the Japanese Embassy and local police reported.

The couple, while visiting Ecuador on their honeymoon, were attacked by a group of eight people on Dec. 28, according to Guayaquil police.

Local media said the robbers followed the couple by car after they got into a taxi at a hotel in Guayaquil.

Tetsuo Hitomi, 28, was shot multiple times and found dead in the street. His 27-year-old wife, Mariko, was shot in the abdomen and leg. He condition is serious but not life-threatening, the embassy said Friday, noting that she is conscious.

Ecuadorian Interior Minister Jose Serrano said the country will offer a reward of up to $100,000 for information leading to the arrest of the suspects. He also said the couple’s bereaved families had arrived in Ecuador to transport Hitomi’s body home.

According to the Foreign Ministry in Tokyo, most of the crimes in Ecuador take place in Quito, the nation’s capital, or Guayaquil,  one of the gateways to the Galapagos Islands, a popular tourist destination some 1,000 km off the coast of Ecuador. The ministry said there have been reports of this type of armed robbery.

As crime in Ecuador has been increasing and there have been cases in which foreigners were targeted, the Foreign Ministry is alerting travellers about the potential risk.