Saturday, March 22, 2008

Gay Salon Owner Killed In Sulu Province

SULU, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Mar. 22, 2008) – Unidentified gunmen shot dead a homosexual salon owner in front of his horrified friends in the largely Muslim province of Sulu, about 950 km south of Manila, police said Saturday.

Police said Romeo Lim, 25, the son of an army soldier, was killed while having dinner on a friend’s house on Friday in the village of Asturias in Jolo town. He was shot several times and died instantly, said Inspector Usman Pingay, the town’s chief of police.

“We still do not know the motives of the killing or who were behind the murder. We are still investigating the killing,” he told the Mindanao Examiner. “We also invited his three friends who witnessed the killing.”

Pingay said two gunmen were involved in the attack, but spared the victim's three friends. The three are being investigated, he said.

Police said Lim, popularly known in Sulu by his alias “Aya Medel,” the name of a sexy Filipino movie starlet, owns the Splash Beauty Salon in downtown. “We are working hard on this case. We want to resolve this soon,” Pingay said.

It was the second killings this week involving attacks on homosexuals. A gay man, Jai Jillang, was also murdered inside the police provincial headquarters in Jolo town. Jillang was stabbed and clubbed to death and his body discovered on March 16 at an alley near a water depot.

It was unknown whether the killings were connected, but homosexuality is strictly forbidden in Islam. It is considered “haram” in Sulu, but despite this many homosexuals not able to find a job have instead put up their own beauty salons in the province, particularly in Jolo, the provincial capital, competing with each other. (Nickee Butlangan)

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