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Suspect charged in brutal attack on two Japanese tourists

HONOLULU (KHON2) - Honolulu police have charged a man arrested in connection with a brutal attack against two tourists in Kakaako.

Isea Taumoepeau, 20, has been charged with two counts of assault. He's being held on $200,000 bail. 

Taumoepeau appeared in a Honolulu courtroom on Monday on a separate unrelated case.

The attack occurred on May 28, inside the public restroom at Mother Waldron Neighborhood Park on Coral Street. 

Honolulu police found a Japanese man lying on the ground inside the park's restroom. 

Sources say the man had a bloody nose, a deep cut on his forehead. His teeth were nearly knocked out. 

The man's wife told police she heard a commotion, so she went to check on her husband. When she entered the restroom, an unknown man put her in a choke hold, and she fainted. 

Sources say the suspect did not take anything from the couple before running off. 

Taumoepeau was arrested around 11 a.m. Friday morning on multiple warrants and two counts of second degree assault. 

Police were able to make the arrest after several homeless individuals living near Mother Waldron Neighborhood Park provided a description of the suspect. The suspect has not yet been charged. 

The crime, which generated international attention, prompted the General Consulate of Japan in Honolulu to issue a warning for Japanese visitors to refrain from using public restrooms in the trendy neighborhood. 

Jessica Lani Rich with nonprofit Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii (VASH) says the couple cut their trip short and flew back to Japan after their hospital stay. 

"I was saddened that something like this can happen in our beautiful state. Especially when our Japanese visitors are so happy. They save their money and work long hours to get here," Rich said. 

The tourists racked up a hospital bill worth $50,000. 

"We don't pay medical bills for families at VASH. However, what we are doing is reaching out to community resources to help the family right now, that's their greatest need, to help with the medical bills," Rich explained. 

"It gives Hawaii a black eye. Because they are visitors. They didn't come here for this," said Senator Brickwood Galuteria, who represents Kakaako. 

"To those who might want to do this type of thing again, think twice. We're going to catch you. We're going to find you. Simply from a humanitarian gesture. This is not what "aloha" is about. This is but one incident ,and we want it to be exclusive. This is not what Hawaii is about, this is not what Kakaako is about," said Galuteria.     

The brutal beating caught the attention of Mayor Kirk Caldwell. In a statement, he wrote

"This attack goes against everything we stand for as a community, and if found guilty, I want the alleged perpetrator to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Honolulu remains one of the safest big cities in the nation, but we must remain vigilant and do all that we can to ensure that our residents and visitors always feel safe at our parks and other public areas." 

 


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