Australian resort owner killed in Philippines

An Australian has died after being shot in the head at point-blank range at a beach resort he managed in the Philippines, police said Monday.

Paul Dean Davy, 52, who managed the Blue Rock Beach Resort in Olongapo City, about three hours' drive north of Manila, died at the scene after being shot on Friday evening, police said.

"Mr Davy was talking to the resort owner when the gunman approached quietly from behind and shot him at point-blank range in the head," police officer Tyrone Tecson, who is investigating the murder, told AFP.

"The assailant needed to fire only one clean shot."

Tecson said the killing could be linked to a labour dispute. "There were some people forced to resign or had been laid off recently while he was the general manager of the resort," he said.

"We may be looking at revenge as the motive. Many of those who lost their work were not happy."

Tecson said there were several witnesses to the attack including the resort owner, who is a foreigner, and some of the hotel staff. But they all told police they did not recognise the gunman.

They described the attacker as wearing a baseball cap and sunglasses, and said he escaped aboard a motorcycle immediately after the shooting, according to Tecson.

Davy had been the general manager of the resort for three years, Tecson said, adding he left behind a Filipina girlfriend and one child.

Olongapo is a popular destination for tourists who enjoy water sports and diving because it is close to Subic Bay.

Subic, with its deep water harbour, used to host a sprawling US naval base that was converted into a freeport in the 1990s. Red-light districts that once served US troops also remain in areas around Subic, including Olongapo.

Shooting deaths are common in the Philippines, where millions of unlicensed firearms are believed to be in circulation. Guns can be bought for as little as $20.

Rights groups complain that the masterminds of killings rarely face justice because of a corrupt police force and judiciary.

A media officer at the Australian embassy said diplomats were aware of Davy's murder but declined to comment.

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