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    Japanese couple caught in fatal shooting in Ecuador's largest city

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    A Japanese couple on their honeymoon were involved in a fatal shooting in Ecuador that left the husband dead and the wife critically injured, according to a report in the Nikkei Asian Review.

    The incident took place in Guayaquil, Ecuador's largest city, on the evening of December 28. Travelers stop off briefly in Guayaquil for direct flights to Galapagos Islands.

    The couple, 27-year-old Mariko Hitomi and her 28-year-old husband Tetsuo Hitomi, had argued with a hotel taxi driver over their fare, so they hailed another taxi on the street to go eat out. While they were on their way back to the hotel in another hailed taxi, they were followed by a group of people who shot them and stole all of their belongings, including their cash.

    Tetsuo died from three gunshot wounds. Mariko was shot in the stomach and right leg. Although she was critically wounded, she was said to be listed in stable condition after the treatment.

    Robberies and assaults against taxi passengers are a significant safety concern in Guayaquil, according to the U.S. Department of State, which recommends that tourists use taxis affiliated with hotels or phones order services and not hail taxis on the street.

    Local authorities have been investigating the case as a burglary and murder committed by a criminal group accused of committing more than eight murders. Ecuador's Department of the Interior has offered a reward of US$100,000 to urge the public to provide eyewitness reports.


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