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Sword Attack, hand chopped off, during a busy night in Waikiki

7 Eleven Waikiki

Midnight in Waikiki. A busy and fun night for many, but a tragedy, and a nightmare for a man who visited a Waikiki 7-Eleven store.

So Horrible! A nightmare for visitors witnessing this attack while enjoying Waikiki.

A visitor’s hand was chopped off in front of a 7-Eleven Store on busy Kalakaua Ave, the beachfront road in Waikiki, on the Island of Oahu, Hawaii.

“I’m from Miami,” he explained. “There is lots of crime in Miami, but I’ve never seen anything like this before…it was a horrible experience.” These are the words by a visitor from Miami told to the local KHON TV channel.

A visitor from Switzerland and other tourists became witnesses when shopping at a well-known 7-Eleven convenience store in Waikiki on Kalakaua Beachfront Avenue. This 7-Eleven is always frequented by tourists.

An argument between two shoppers ended with the victim having his hand chopped off when attacked with a sword. It happened right after midnight Friday morning in busy Waikiki with visitors enjoying a warm summer night in the Aloha State.

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The argument started in the store and continued outside on Kalakaua Avenue in front of bystanders, mostly visitors, when it escalated.

The victim was transported to a hospital and is fighting for his life. The suspect dumped the Sword after running back into the 7-Eleven and was arrested by Honolulu Police.

“For me, what happened here is like the world became crazy,” a Swiss tourist told KHON Local TV.

Another witness said: “I saw the guy actually come with a sword, and he just sliced the other guy’s hand from the wrist down, and it was on the floor.”

The Swiss tourist said the victim just stood there for a moment before falling to the ground.

Tweets say this incident changed the perspective on Waikiki.

Hawaii Tourism Authority did not respond, issued any statements, or made any comments on this incident.

Dr. Peter Tarlow, president of the World Tourism Network, a contributor to eTurboNews, and a known tourism security expert, said:

Attacking a tourist in Waikiki by a person carrying a sword is another example of the need for good tourism policing and security. For this reason, since 1995, I had the privilege to work with the Honolulu Police Department in creating special units to patrol Waikiki; these units need both training and proper funding.

Waikiki is the tourist center in Honolulu. In 2015 Honolulu was considered to be one of the safest cities in the United States.

Social media postings always confirmed: As long as you stay on the main streets and don’t take shortcuts through alleys, you should be fine on Kalakaua or Kuhio anytime. Recent violent attacks, including a brutal assault on a military veteran and his girlfriend is the latest high-profile crime in the tourist district.

In March, Joe Herter and Amanda Canada were attacked, and a 20-year-old Marqus McNeil was shot and killed in Waikiki. Police reports note that tourists can be kidnapped and robbed in broad daylight, even in public places.

The tourism industry cannot ill afford any act of violence that destroys a place’s image. News about water contamination at a Hilton branded hotel was an issue Hawaii had to deal with recently.

In his presentation to Hawaii at a tourism conference before the outbreak of COVID, Dr. Peter Tarlow reminded the Hawaii Tourism Authority:

  1. In an interlocked world, tourism security is one more major selling point.
  2. Tourism surety requires a cooperative effort. There is a need for interagency cooperation. Visitors know little about, nor care little about, interagency rivalries or disputes. Instead, the tourist expects and has the right to expect a safe and secure vacation experience.
  3. Tourism surety requires credibility. From the perspective of the consumer, there is no difference between issues of safety and security. For example, a tourist’s vacation is ruined if he/she drinks contaminated water or is a crime victim. In both cases, the visitor will most likely not return. Tourism officials need to warn visitors of real situations and have the data to support their assertions.
  4. Tourism officials need to fight this year’s battles and not last year’s battles. Tourism officials are often so fixated on a crisis from previous years that they fail to note a new crisis brewing. Tourism safety experts need to be aware of the past but not prisoners of it. For example, if in a certain location, identity theft crimes have replaced crimes of distraction, then officials need to be aware of the new situation and take measures to protect the traveling public.
  5. Tourism surety requires a vision and only then an overall plan. This shared vision must belong to law enforcement, city and state government, and the judiciary and legal system. Visions must be both practical and realizable.
  6. Tourism industries that choose to ignore tourism security are opening themselves up to not only financial loss but to major law suites and liability issues. In a nation that loves to sue, issues of liability not only pertain to places of lodging but also to attractions and transportation centers. Rather than subtracting from the bottom line, tourism safety and security added a new marketing dimension to a tourism product.

Click to read the entire presentation by Dr. Peter Tarlow.

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About the author

Juergen T Steinmetz

Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1977).
He founded eTurboNews in 1999 as the first online newsletter for the global travel tourism industry.

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