Thursday, March 21, 2013

Philippines: Lessons-Learned in Robbery-Murder of French Tourist, 68, in Manila

According to The Philippine Daily Inquirer, the Southern Police District (SPD) has identified a suspect in the armed robbery-homicide of French tourist Pierre Paul Franz Hofman, 68, in Pasay City,  who refused to surrender his tote-bag containing 700 euros on March 8.

On the day of the shooting, suspect Richard Adilan, age unknown, was considered a suspect after investigators discovered that he was the last known purchaser of the getaway vehicle used in the crime, a white Toyota Corolla (PPV-904).    

Mr. Hofman was robbed by two assailants on the morning of March 8 as he was waiting with two French companions for a taxi along Roxas Boulevard in front of the Heritage Hotel. The three tourists were then on their way to the Victory Liner bus terminal on Edsa for a trip to Baguio City. 

Tragically, Hofman was shot three times by one of the suspects when he refused to let go of his bag containing 700 euros ($903.00). See Comment below. 

COMMENT:  The assailants, after shooting Mr. Hofman and taking his bag containing the 700 euros, initially fled on a motorbike driven by a third confederate

Police later learned from witnesses that two of the suspects got off the bike two blocks away from the crime scene and boarded a white Toyota Corolla (PPV-904), which was owned by Adilan.
 
National Capital Region Police Office director Chief Supt. Leonardo Espiña described Adilan as a member of the Alvin Flores robbery gang who is  wanted for three robberies staged in 2011. Two of these robberies involved the victims being shot and killed.

A ballistics report from the SPD showed that the .45-caliber shells recovered at the Hofman crime scene matched those found in the Robinson’s Metro East robbery in Pasig City in June last year. 

First-time travelers to the Philippines are reminded that violent crime is a serious threat, particularly in major cities. Consequently, visitors must know that tourists are high on every criminal's "to-do" list because they carry digital cameras, money, electronic gadgets  and credit or debit cards.

Additionally, visitors are urged to subscribe to international medical treatment and evacuation coverage before departure from home, as many clinics may demand payment in advance of treatment.

With ATMs abundantly available in the Philippines, no tourist should ever be carrying such a large sum of money that Mr. Hofman had in his possession (700 euros).

ATMs and debit cards enable us to carry small amounts of cash with us, but still have the option of making major purchases with credit or debit cards.  

It is very likely that if Mr. Hofman had not been carrying such a large sum of money on his person, he might well be alive today. 

Please, don't carry a large amount of cash around and please don't resist armed persons. If they don't carry guns, they do carry machetes and "bolos," which resemble machetes.