Father and son attacked by robbers, son dies Print E-mail
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Friday, 15 February 2019 00:00

Masaki Yanai, a 19-year-old Japanese-Belizean resident of Belize City, died after his family became a victim of an armed robbery. He reportedly tried to come to his father’s aid who was being attacked by two thieves, and for his bravery, he was gunned down.

Police say that at around 6:20 p.m. on Thursday, February 7th, 2019, they were called to the Yanai family’s residence, located on Park Avenue in the Buttonwood Bay Area of Belize City. When they arrived they found Masaki Yanai suffering from multiple gunshot wounds to the body. His father, 53-year-old Takayuki Yanai, was also injured by multiple gunshots. Both of them were immediately rushed to the KHMH for emergency medical treatment, but about ten minutes later, Masaki Yanai succumbed to his injuries at the hospital. Takayuki Yanai arrived in a critical condition, but he continues to cling to life.

Initial investigations reveal that the Yanai family closed up their restaurant, Taka Kitchen, which is located in the Northern Shops on the Philip Goldson Highway. They then went to purchase some groceries, and when they arrived home, the family members were trying to unload their vehicle when two men ambushed Takayuki Yanai. They struggled with him, trying to steal his money, and Masaki reportedly heard his dad’s distress. He tried to help, but one of the assailants, opened fire on him and injured him several times. Takayuki was not spared by the assailants who ripped off a waist bag from him, which carried an undisclosed amount of cash. They then shot him also, and fled the scene.

Police are trying their best to catch these lawless killers and robbers, but they say that residents in the neighborhood, who they suspect may have useful information are not cooperating.

Police Commissioner Chester Williams made a Facebook post announcing that members of the business community have decided to offer a cash reward to anyone, who can provide information that leads to the arrest of the persons responsible for this murder and armed robbery.

Williams said, “Police have not been able to get any good leads as witnesses are being very tight-lipped. In light of this, the Police Department in collaboration with the business community is offering a reward of $7,000.00 for information leading to the arrest of those responsible. Anyone wish(ing) to offer any information can inbox or contact me on 610-5716. Any information volunteered will be kept strictly confidential.”

Masaki Yanai is fondly remembered by the school community of the University of Belize. Following his murder, President Clement Sankat released a statement to the press condemning the murder of this promising young man.

President Sankat commented, “It is with indignation and deep regret that I have to announce the death of one of our students–Masaki Yanaai. Masaki was the victim of a callous home invasion… He was a final-year University of Belize engineering student and was scheduled to graduate in June; he was shot trying to protect his father from the attackers and died while receiving medical treatment. Every student contributes in no small measure to the remarkable community we create together at UB. The loss of any student, particularly in so tragic and senseless a manner, grievously wounds us all. Masaki was a bright, engaging and promising student. His peers described him as “humble,” “quiet,” “always willing to assist,” but overwhelmingly, he was described as “an individual whose kind spirit positively impacted the lives of those he knew.’”

Senate President Lee Mark Chang, whose family owns Chon Saan Restaurant, told the press that this tragedy could not have been visited on a more humble and decent family. The Yanai family came to Belize from Japan as volunteers, and they adopted Belize as their home for about 15 years. Chang reminisced about Takayuki Yanai’s first few months in Belize after the transition, and his difficulties with getting employed, even though he was an international chef. He worked at Chon Saan for several years before opening his own business, Taka Kitchen, and Lee Mark Chang said that Takayuki Yanai was a humble, hard-working man.

Luis Marroquin cries after being denied Supreme Court bail Print E-mail
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Friday, 15 February 2019 00:00

Luis Marroquin, a Peruvian national and one of three foreigners accused of the crime of preparation to commit a crime of the theft at an ATM in Dangriga, has again attempted to secure Supreme Court after he was initially denied bail in the first instance on Monday, January 21, 2019 at the Belize City Magistrate’s Court. His second application was heard on Friday, February 8, 2019 before Justice Herbert Lord in the presence of his attorney, Richard “Dickie” Bradley. Marroquin, the youngest of the accused, could barely contain his emotions when he was again denied bail; he began to cry.

Crown Counsel Riis Raymond Cattouse had objections to bail being granted to Marroquin and submitted several reasons. According to Crown Counsel Cattouse, the accused along with others were engaging in the crime of theft. He said that the charge that the accused is facing has increased over a year. He also submitted that Marroquin in a flight risk. Bradley on the other hand submitted that another defendant charged with the same offense has already indicated that he will plead guilty and as a result, it is unfair for his client to languish in jail for the same offense.

After listening to the submissions on either sides, Justice Lord concluded that the case is still in its infancy stage and the investigations are still ongoing. With that, Marroquin was denied bail. He, however, ordered that if Marroquin’s PI is not held by March 30, 2019, the Supreme Court will grant him bail. For the time being, Marroquin was remanded again to the Belize Central Prison until March 27, 2019, his next court date to be held in the Dangriga Magistrate’s Court.

The other two people charged and arraigned along with Marroquin are 35-year-old Chilean Juan Alfonso Espinosa Saavedra, and 36-year-old Edgar Jhovany Vargas Vaca, a Colombian who both have still not brought any applications yet in an attempt to secure bail through the Supreme Court. The trio was found with skimmers and blank credit cards and police say that they were being monitored from November of 2018.


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