Death penalty sought for Japanese man charged with killing Chinese ‘suitcase sisters’

Tatsuya Iwasaki accused of strangling Chen Baolan, 25, and her sister Chen Baozhen, 22, at their flat and dumping their bodies in the mountains

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 July, 2018, 1:32pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 July, 2018, 2:46pm

Prosecutors on Wednesday demanded the death penalty for a 40-year-old man accused of killing two Chinese sisters and leaving their bodies stuffed in travel bags in woods southwest of Tokyo last summer.

Tatsuya Iwasaki strangled Chen Baolan, 25, and her sister Chen Baozhen, 22, at their flat in Yokohama on July 6, 2017, and abandoned their remains in the mountains in Hadano, Kanagawa Prefecture the next day after packing their bodies into travel bags, according to the indictment.

“It was a planned act of extremely atrocious cruelty,” the prosecutors told a hearing at the Yokohama District Court, adding that Iwasaki killed the “blameless sisters in a consecutive manner, thinking lightly of human lives.”

Iwasaki had been romantically interested in the elder sister but killed her after coming to believe that she wished to use him to contract a fake marriage, according to the prosecutors. He then murdered the younger sister to try to cover up the crime, they said.

His defence counsel said Iwasaki was not involved in the killings and claimed that he only cooperated in a plan to make it look like the two women had disappeared as the elder sister’s right to legal residence was about to expire.

The District Court is expected to hand down a ruling on July 20.