• Kyodo


Police said Saturday they have launched a search, based on the confessions of two detained men, for the body of a 70-year-old Japanese tourist who disappeared in January in the central province of Cebu.

The police said they are scouring the shores of Catmon, a coastal town north of the provincial capital of Cebu, for any trace of Ryohei Sato, from Aizu-Wakamatsu, Fukushima Prefecture, who vanished Jan. 30.

The search was prompted by the alleged confessions of the two men, who were detained Friday and are suspected of involvement in a plan to get Sato to invest in a fake gold bar scam.

The police suspect the men ended up detaining Sato after failing to withdraw from a bank in Cebu money that had been sent by Sato’s family in Japan.

The two men were caught in Manila on Friday. They allegedly have three accomplices, one of whom is a Japanese man going by the name Hiroshi Nagai.

Nagai, accompanied by a Filipino named Gerry Perez, allegedly injected Sato with insecticide Feb. 12 on a beach near Catmon as they were about to board a fishing boat.

Perez then allegedly shot Nagai dead and threw the bodies of Sato and Nagai overboard, the police said.

The police said they are still trying to confirm whether the two men detained in Manila were actually aboard the boat with Sato, Nagai and Perez at the time of the alleged killings.

They said they are also still trying to account for discrepancies between sightings of Sato while in captivity and the degrees of involvement of the five men in Nagai’s group.

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