Grisly murders in Philippines

Europeans and a Filipino maid have been brutally murdered on a popular resort island in the Philippines.

The four victims were discovered on Monday in a house on the tourist island of Boracay.

They were apparently stabbed to death during a robbery, police said.

Twenty-five construction workers making a swimming pool for the property have been questioned in connection with the killings, officials said.

Police have identified the European victims as Swiss-born gallery owner Manfred Schoeni, German property developer Anton Faustenhauser and Hong Kong-based British architect John Cowperthwaite.

The Filipino maid has been named as Irma Sarmiento.

"Our investigators are looking into robbery as the possible motive for the killings," regional police chief George Alino told Reuters news agency.

The building was ransacked by the intruders, with drawers and cabinets open and beds overturned, regional police chief George Alino told Reuters news agency.

Two blood-stained knives are said to have been recovered from inside the house.

Island paradise

Boracay, 310km (195 miles) southeast of Manila, is famous for its white sand beaches, scuba diving and nightlife.

The island has about 12,000 local residents, many of them Westerners who part-own some of the major hotels and restaurants.

One hotel owner told the French news agency AFP that the killings could not have come at a worse time for the island's tourist industry, which was finally recovering from terrorism alerts issued for the region following the 2002 bombing on the Indonesian island of Bali.

Presidential spokesman Ignacio Bunye vowed the authorities would track down those behind the four murders, and insisted that tourists should still consider the island safe.

"This is an isolated incident," he said.

04/05/2004

Bron : BBC World

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