A Japanese couple who was attacked Monday in a Mother Waldron Neighborhood Park bathroom face $50,000 in medical costs, according to the Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii.
The husband was going into the park’s bathroom around 11 a.m. when he was assaulted in the face above his left eye, said Jessica Lani Rich, president of VASH. The man’s wife heard a noise, then went into the bathroom “and she was choked,” Rich said.
Rich read from a hand-written, VASH report prepared by a Honolulu police officer. The couple’s Japanese tour operator later said the woman briefly passed out, Rich said.
The injuries that HPD reported to VASH are different than the ones described by the Consulate General of Japan in Honolulu. On its website Tuesday, following the attack, the consulate warned Japanese tourists and Japanese nationals living in Honolulu about visiting Kakaako’s popular murals.
The warnings, written in Japanese, said the couple came upon a group of males injecting drugs. It said the man and woman were both punched in the face and choked, and were left with broken teeth.
“My report says nothing about teeth,” Rich said. “That’s not to say it didn’t happen.”
The consulate said the couple returned to Japan on Tuesday with their 19-year-old daughter. But Rich said HPD reported that they also were accompanied by their 21-year-old son.
Rich said VASH has offered to solicit donations to help the couple pay for their $50,000 medical bills.
“Their biggest concern is their hospital expense,” Rich said. “VASH does not pay hospital bills, but we are trying to do what we can to raise money.”
“It’s really sad when our visitors are assaulted when they come to Hawaii to have a wonderful, dream vacation,” Rich said.
The consulate’s warning says the area is known for purse snatchings and vehicle break-ins while visitors post pictures of themselves with the murals on social media.
The warning advises Japanese residents and Japanese tourists, in particular, to avoid public bathrooms in Kakaako. Unlike Waikiki, the consulate warned visitors that Kakaako does not have as many police officers.
The consulate did not identify the Kakaako park where the couple was attacked but Rich confirmed that it was Mother Waldron.
The park — which is bordered by Pohukaina, Halekauwila, Cooke and Keawe streets and has bathrooms — was shut down by the city on Tuesday for “maintenance” after it was overrun by approximately 40 homeless people, their dogs, tents and tarps.
The city had announced the park closure before the attack. The park is scheduled to reopen on July 6.