Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Murder suspected in Bali tourist's death

Source (Click to view): Japan Today/Kyodo

A 33-year-old Tokyo woman was found dead on the Indonesian resort island of Bali and injuries to the body indicate she may have been murdered, according to local reports Tuesday.

Wilmar Marpaung, detective unit chief at the Bali Police Headquarters, said Rika Sano's corpse was found at 4 p.m. Monday in a thicket of bushes on Mertahadi Street in the Kuta beach resort area.

Private television networks Trans7 and Surya Citra Televisi reported the tourist's body was discovered when local residents noticed a foul smell.

Sano's body was found half-naked, and her underwear, cell phone, cosmetics and other belongings were scattered around, raising suspicions she was robbed and raped before she was killed, according to the reports.

Police also found a wood log that may been used to beat and kill her, Marpaung said.

Marpaung, however, refused to speculate on the cause of death.

"We are still investigating the cause of her death. So far, I can only say that she was the victim of violence," he said, adding her body is being kept at the Sanglah General Hospital for an autopsy.

According to Marpaung, Sano checked into the Prani Hotel in Kuta with a friend, Mayumi Someya, 30, on Thursday night, and at around 2:30 a.m. Friday a man claiming to be a police officer led her away from her hotel.

According to the online news portal Tempo Interaktif, the man showed police identification and a badge to the hotel's security officer and said Sano was a drug trafficker.

The man drove away from the hotel on a motorcycle with Sano riding on the back, but an hour later he came back alone and took her two suitcases.

Marpaung said the man could have been posing as a police officer but added "we are still checking the information."

Meanwhile, Gde Alit Widana, chief of the Denpasar Police Headquarters in the Bali provincial capital of Denpasar, said more than one perpetrator may have been involved.

"So far, we have been questioning four people," Widana said, without elaborating whether the four are witnesses or suspects.

Photographs have been shown to Someya in an attempt identify the perpetrator, he said.

Officials of the Japanese Consulate General in Denpasar said they are trying to confirm the facts regarding the case.

For many Japanese, especially women, Bali is a popular resort destination. Bali tours for female customers often include such services as massages at ritzy resort hotels.

Video link (in Bahasa)