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Japanese businessman gunned down in Manila

A 48-year-old Japanese businessman was shot dead Thursday evening, a few hours after arriving in the country for a possible venture with a local firm.

Police identified the fatality as Seiki Mizuno, who was killed on the backseat of a Toyota Alphard (UHQ-319), at 8:30 p.m. at the corner of Roxas Boulevard and Cuerteles St. in Manila.

Mizuno was with three other Japanese, a Filipino businessman, and his driver when two suspects aboard a motorcycle pulled alongside the van during the red light, police said.

Ronald Singsing, the 41-year-old driver, said the back rider pulled a gun and started firing shots in his direction.

Singsing said he escaped unharmed, but John Ong Desbarro, who was seated in the passenger’s seat, suffered a minor injury in the head. Desbarro is the president of Oakwave Philippines Corp.

The gunman then climbed out of the motorcycle to shoot Mizuno who was seated behind the driver. Mizuno died on the spot after getting hit on the neck.

The suspects fled to Pedro Gil St. going to Pasay City.

The victims just had dinner at Harbour View Restaurant near the Quirino Grandstand and were on their way to Solaire Hotel in Pasay City, according to Singsing.

The driver said the gunman wore t-shirts, short pants and a cap.

PO3 Aldeen C. Legaspi of the Manila Police District-Homicide Section said that Mizuno and the other three Japanese nationals arrived in the country on Thursday afternoon aboard Philippine Airlines Flight PR- 437 for a business venture with Oakwave Philippines Corp.

The bullet-riddled vehicle was turned over to the Manila Police District headquarters for investigation.

Police said they have yet to establish motive for the attack. (ANALOU DE VERA)