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Japanese businessman killed for insurance money?

Police probers inspect the body of Seiki Mizuno in Manila on Thursday night. JOVEN CAGANDE

MANILA, Philippines - A Japanese businessman died and his Filipino companion was wounded in an ambush in Ermita, Manila on Thursday night.

Probers said Seiki Mizuno, 48, who was billeted at the Solaire Hotel and Casino in Pasay, could have been killed for insurance money.

Manila Police District (MPD) director Chief Superintendent Joel Napoleon Coronel said Mizuno’s companion, John Desbarro, 48, of Bacoor, Cavite, was grazed by a bullet in the head.

Coronel said Mizuno arrived from Japan on Thursday afternoon to meet with the executives of Oakwave Philippines Corp.

Prior to the ambush, police said Mizuno and other Japanese businessmen met in a restaurant near the Quirino Grandstand. They left in four vehicles at past 8 p.m., police said.

Mizuno, his three Japanese companions, Desbarro and driver Roland Singsing were in a white Toyota Alphard van (UHQ-319) on their way back to the hotel when two men on a motorcycle opened fire at the corner of Roxas Boulevard and Cuarteles street in Ermita.

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After hearing the shots, Singsing rammed the center island. But the gunmen followed them and shot Mizuno at close range.

After making sure that Mizuno was dead, the assailants fled toward Parañaque.

Coronel ruled out that it was a case of mistaken identity “because the suspects seemed to know their target.”

He said they invited the Japanese businessmen, whose identities were withheld, to shed light on the killing.

The MPD will coordinate with the Bureau of Immigration to determine if Mizuno arrived in the country alone.

Police said it was possible that one of the victim’s companions could be the mastermind.

Coronel said they would also check Mizuno’s background with the Japanese embassy.

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