The man allegedly behind the brazen robbery of a Japanese tourist appeared in court on Monday, June 5.
Gordon Phillips Jr., 27, was charged with robbery in an incident that occurred on Saturday, May 27, in broad daylight.
According to court documents, the victim was waiting for his wife to return from a tour of the North Shore when he received a call from her cell phone.
The man on the other end, allegedly Phillips, said he wanted to meet to return the cell phone he found.
Phillips allegedly picked the victim up, drove to Honolulu Zoo and picked up a woman with a baby and two young girls, then proceeded toward Diamond Head Crater lookout, where he demanded $100 for the ride.
When the victim refused, court documents claim Phillips pulled the him out of the vehicle and deployed a stun gun several times on his chest and back. Phillips then allegedly pried the victim’s bag out of his hands and drove off, leaving the victim on Diamond Head Road.
Witnesses called police, and Honolulu police officers tracked Philips down in Nanakuli a few days later.
Sources say he waded in the water for hours before officers eventually went in and arrested him.
He remains in custody, unable to post $100,000 bail.
The Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii (VASH) told KHON2 it quickly stepped in to help the 63-year-old robbery victim.
While he was not seriously hurt, officials say he was extremely shaken by what happened.
“The visitor did not want to talk about the incident. It was just too traumatic,” said VASH CEO Jessica Lani Rich. “This was one of the most unusual cases that we’ve ever seen, because who would’ve thought that someone would have the audacity to hit a visitor with a stun gun.”
The tourist has since gone back to Japan, but a few visitor organizations are handing out safety cards to remind tourists not to let their guard down while on vacation. The cards have safety tips printed in Japanese, Korean, and Chinese.
“Read this card, because it could protect you from becoming a victim of a crime,” Rich said. “It’s an isolated incident and for the most part, our visitors who come to Hawaii have a wonderful time and it is a safe place to visit.”
VASH helps around 2,000 visitors each year. Half of them are international.