Thursday, May 31, 2012

Russia: Siberian Suspects Arrested in Murder of Japanese Tourist

As a follow-up to my May 23 posting, Siberian have arrested two suspects, ages 20 and 21, in the brutal stabbing death of a Japanese motorcycle tourist in the Zabaikalsk region.

The body of Koiti Onita, 31, was found May 22 outside the city of Chita on a remote stretch of road leading to Irkutsk near Lake Baikal. At the time, police had difficulty understanding how a victim could be stabbed as many as 30 times, yet his assailants left his Suzuki motorcycle, apparel, a mobile phone and a large amount of Russian currency untouched.

COMMENT: As a result of interrogating the two men in custody, police have now concluded that the two suspects had originally planned to rob Mr. Onita, but when a car passed by where they had killed the latter, they dropped the tourist's belongings and fled.

As I have said in numerous postings in the past, solo travel abroad is fraught with considerable risks, particularly when traveling in isolated, rural areas in countries where it is commonplace for tourists and travelers to be preyed upon. Recent examples of these risks include the murder of two French tourists in Argentina and the murder of a French tourist in Malaysia, both of which began as probable crimes of sexual assault.

What is puzzling in this case, and which we may never have an explanation for, is the excessive numbers of times that the tourist was stabbed, if in fact the only motive was robbery. Unfortunately, we may never all of the facts.