The Sydney Morning Herald from Sydney, New South Wales, New South Wales, Australia on October 12, 1997 · Page 22
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The Sydney Morning Herald from Sydney, New South Wales, New South Wales, Australia · Page 22

Sydney, New South Wales, New South Wales, Australia
Issue Date:
Sunday, October 12, 1997
Page 22
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The accused: Bright, eager for attention THE 1 6- ear-old boy accused of the murder of the Japanese tourist in Cairns seemed to crave attention. The caravan dweller is a fit and keen abseiler who joined three other young people last month to squat at an unused warehouse. He left school at 14 to look for work and seems to have become a street-wise drifter divorced from his family. Dressed in baggy designer jeans, he appeared alone in Cairns Children's Court last W ednesday and entered no plea to the charge of murdering Michiko Okuyama. w ho disappeared on the morning of September 20 after leaving her flat to go shopping. An autopsy indicated she died from severe facial fractures and inhaling her blood. The youth was remanded in custody to a committal hearing on December 19. Recently he failed to get a job as a television cameraman's assistant. But that didn't Wo w. E3M IN COURT: Cairns boy. stop him from try ing to be in the public eye. He contacted a TV station with a story on street safety and featured in a newspaper story. Journalists said the story, on the youth finding seven used syringes in the street, seemed genuine. "He was so keen and energetic," said journalist Jane Williams. "He was helpful, intelligent and to look at him you would even say in some ways angelic." Police said the boy-approached them during the murder investigation claiming to have seen the woman. -GREG ABBOTT By GREG ABBOTT and JIM O'ROURKE HUNDREDS of well-wishers farewelled the family of slain Japanese tourist Michiko Okuyama when they flew home from Cairns airport yesterday. Local people and airport workers spent more than an hour hugging and quietly speaking with the dead girl's father Mikio, mother Toshie and brothers Hideo and Takeshi before they left for Yokohama. In a sensitive public display of grief from the far north Queensland city, people with tears in their eyes apologised to the Okuyama family for the death of the 22-year-old woman. Through an interpreter the murdered woman's mother told the crowd the family did not blame the city for Michi-ko's death and thanked the citizens for making them welcome and assisting them. "Thank you very much for searching for Michiko, thank you very much," Mr Okuyama said. He carried a box containing his daughter's ashes. The family had already scattered some of her remains on the Great I ( Iff si V. V4l$f$f 1 SO SORRY: Michiko Okuyama's parents are farewelled at Cairns airport. Barrier Reef in recognition of her dream of becoming a scuba diving instructor. Although a 16-year-old youth has been charged with the murder of Ms Okuyama, police yesterday said investigations into her death were continuing. Tourists, many of them Japanese, are discovering an ugly, frightening side to the holiday capital a redneck, anti-Asian attitude that seethes with aggression. Tourists are increasingly subjected to physical assaults, heckling in the street or sullen rudeness. Some have disappeared. Concerned residents fear the horrific death of Ms Okuyama, killed in a security vault then carted naked through city streets in a wheelie bin before being dumped in a swamp, was a murder the city had to have. They hope desperately that outrage at the killing will help stem the high rate of violent and property crime. "It's time for us to tackle crime and assaults against tourists more openly," said Cairns- based author and crime reporter Robert Reid. "You scratch the clean surface and Cairns reacts a bit too dirty." Leading criminologist Paul Wilson agreed. "Cairns is up there with the highest (for crime)," Mr Wilson said. "The evidence of harassment against Asians, harsh violence at pubs and other drinking places and the underlying sense of aggression is there for all to see." He has just returned to Bond University from a crime conference in Cairns. "The city council has a good crime prevention program but I believe the sense of aggression is so much bigger. It has to be dealt with differently." Anti-crime campaigners say police and civic leaders are sweeping a political time bomb under the carpet. Mr Reid said: "If you speak publicly, you are labelled anti-Cairns or part of the bad southern press." "Local crimes, particularly assaults on Japanese tourists, have been played down for a long time. Yet for this murder, 15 detectives flew up from Brisbane, a police media spokesman was up here for a week, interpreters were hired, journalists came from Japan by the planeful and even the Federal Minister for Tourism came up. "The case made headlines everywhere. "It is because she was Japanese," Mr Reid said. "Cairns is billed as paradise but it can be hell if you are not careful, especially at night" Accommodation agent Ross Humphrey said images of Cairns being the last wild west or redneck capital of north Queensland were hard to eradicate when a memor- 1 '"- mi '-HUB". ' -HI. IJ.. I I. , PP J ' I f - - ":-,A H : ' J)t1- -, TTr n 'MBHMWMK,' WIPM . i X fx -. J i i . T- "' ... . . r . i V V" . -v Comronwealth Investment Funds are managed by Commonwealth Investment Services Limited ACN 003 049 830 a wholly owned (but non-guaranteed) subsidiary of Commonwealth Bank of Australia and part of Commonwealth Financial Services. CfStzL f0rm attaChed to the P"35060'"8 currently dated 7 October 1997 which has been lodged with the Australian Securities Commission. The return of capital and the performance of the Funds are not guaranteed Commonwealth Financial ial to Miss Okuyama's death was desecrated within days. "There are some sick people around," he said. Japanese staff from a nearby restaurant said, through an interpreter, they took the destruction as a sign that some Cairns residents were sympathetic towards her killer. They said: "This indicates to us people still think the guy who killed the girl was not completely wrong." Mr Humphrey said he was shocked at any lingering racist attitudes to Japanese business and tourism in Cairns. "I'm surprised people don't realise where our future lies." The Sun-Herald learnt first-hand of Cairns' ugly side. On Thursday, a day after police revealed the circumstances of Miss Okuyama's death, a Cairns cafe proprietor told me a sick joke about a planeload of Japanese being diverted to Towns-ville because "Cairns didn't have enough wheelie bins". A taxi driver cursed the proliferation of Japanese signage in the city, calling it the beginning of a "little Tokyo". Another cabbie said he felt his son was recently bashed because he looked part Japanese. "I believe police are trying to put a lid on these assaults being publicised," he said. The increase in Japanese labour in the Cairns tourist workforce, the growth of Japanese backpacker "rabbit warrens" (old Queenslanders converted into small-room guesthouses for Japanese youth), Cairns houses bought outright by young Japanese as hostels, and the high level of Japanese investment were creating growing resentment "It would help if this all comes out into the open," he said. Mr Humphrey said people who found Japanese signs offensive or resented Japanese visitors taking Cairns jobs had to realise tourism was Cairns' most vital asset "Perhaps with this young lady's murder the bubble of innocence has burst Now might be the time to educate all Cairns residents to stand up against crime and to actively protect any young women. "We have a bright economical future, thanks to Japanese tourism. Let's protect them, everyone else and Cairns." QOQu Jiiif.i iiiii i-- . it n ' .)jf TOURIST TRAP: The Esplanade in Cairns. Pictures: R USSELL FRANCIS Tcrrorsaurus Family Packages, 184. Roam the prehistoric world of the dinosaurs at Tcrrorsaurus, the latest exhibition at Quests con -The National Science and Technology Centre, then enjoy the thoroughly modern facilities at Parkroyal Canberra. Our family package includes one night for two adults and two children, plus breakfast for four and a family pass to Questacon. Terrorsaurus Packages are available Friday to Sunday only, subject to availability, from now until February. For reservations, contact the hotel direct on (02) 6247 8999 or call Worldwide Reservations Toll-free on 1-500 363 300 or your AFTA travel agent. Parkroyal Canberra, 1 Binara Street, Canberra, ACT 2601. PARKROYAL CANBERRA 3 FAfOUtOYAL HOltlS I. RESOK1S- A MEMMJt OF 1HE SPHC GHOUP- You've worked hard for your inmooey, hut ds iH doing the same for you? Perhaps now is the time to think about managing your money by diversifying and considering other investment options. If you have cash investments you've probably been far from happy with the returns recently. It's commonsense that your money should be working much harder so compare the returns from four of our funds in the graph. It shows how the funds have performed over the three years to 30 June, 1997. Commonwealth Investment Funds Investment Performance 3 years to 30 June 1 997 18' 15' 12 9 6 3 Funds for income 5.98pa f Funds for growth 12 06opa 16.33pa 7 88pa I I Cash Management Trust I Income Fund Australian Growth Fund I Share Fund These returns are historical and are net of ongoing fees. They allow for capital growth and assume ali income has been reinvested in additional units in the same Fund. No allowance has been made for taxation. Past performance is not indicative of future returns. Do you need your money to live on now, or money to grow? Commonwealth Investment Funds give you the choice of income or growth, or a combination of both. Income - for those who prefer to have money to live off now. Growth - for all those people who are saving longer term for the future and don't necessarily need income straightaway. Depending on which fund you choose, you can invest from $2,500. If you wish you can build from there with as little as $100 a month, then access your money at short notice any time you need it. A free no obligation consultation. If you'd like to know more, one of our Investment Consultants will be happy to take you through the finer points of Commonwealth Investment Funds. In a free consultation they'll explain everything in a simple easy way to help you decide which fund is right for you. Phone FREECALL 1800 069 893 (Sydney time) between 8am and 8pm Monday to Friday to arrange a free consultation or, alternatively, fill in the coupon for more information or email us at Then you'll see how a little Commonsense Investing can be such a great investment for your future. There's no need to stamp the envelope when you send this coupon to: Reply Paid 1950. Commonwealth Financial Services, GPO Box 3306. Sydney 2001. MrMrsMiss'MsOttier Pnone fay1ime) State . (Evening SH Commonwealth Investment Funds All investment advice is provided by Commonwealth Investment Services Limited which is licensed to deal in securities and is limited to products available from the CommonweaWi Bank Group ot compares Application tor investment can only be Services is a registered business name of Commonwealth Investment Serviced Limited. Visit our Internet site at: 22 THE SUN-HERALD, October 12, 1997 THE SUN-HERALD. October 12, 1997 23 , 5

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