MANILA – Unidentified gunmen riding in tandem ambushed a van bearing four Japanese businessmen Thursday night in Manila, killing one of them, police said.
The van was returning to a hotel in Pasay City after dinner at 9 p.m. when the gunmen approached as the van reached the corner of Roxas Boulevard and Pedro Gil St. They started firing at the seat behind the driver where the victim, Seiki Mizuno, was seated. The gunmen then went to the other side and fired more shots, according to driver Roland Singsing.
“Nablangko kami kasi bigla na lang, eh, bigla may sumulpot sa gilid, nagpaputok ayun hanggang sa parang nataranta kami. Boss ko sumigaw na may tama raw sya, tapos nung nakabig ko sa kaliwa yung sasakyan parang lumipat sa kabila rin pagkalipat nagpaputok sya uli [We were stunned by the suddenness of their moves. They just appeared on one side, fired shots. My boss shouted he was hit, and I tried to steer the van away, but then the gunmen went to the other side of the van and started shooting again,” Singsing said.
Mizuno was dead on the spot from a gunshot wound in the neck.
The president of Oak Wave Philippines, John Ong Desbaro, bore slight head injuries after being grazed by a bullet.
The three other Japanese businessmen were unhurt but shaken.
“Unang putok nahagip agad ako, tendency ko yumuko. Maliit lang naman [sugat ko], nagalaw lang balat ng konti [I got hit in the first shots fired, and I immediately ducked for cover. My wounds are superficial,” said Desbaro.
Mizuno’s passport showed he had just arrived Wednesday on a business trip, and had plans to visit the Export Processing Zone Authority (EPZA) in Cavite.
Police have no clue as to the motive of the attackers.
Nobu Yamamoto, business partner of Mizuno, also declined to say anything on who would want to target the businessman, with whose company he had dealt for five years.
Asked by News5, “do you have any idea what could be the possible motive?” Yamamoto replied, “I can’t say, sorry.”
Pressed on whether Mizuno had any enemy that he knew of, Yamamoto replied, “I don’t want to say anything.”
The windows on both sides of the van were shattered and the right bumper side was damaged after it hit another van when Singsing tried to avoid the attackers.
No one was able to note down the license plates of the motorcycle used in the attack but described one of the attackers as being of medium build, and wearing a cap, t-shirt and shorts.