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Wednesday, September 27, 2000

Man who claimed
yakuza ties pleads guilty
to kidnapping and
torturing his ex-wife

By Debra Barayuga

A man who bragged he had ties to the Japanese yakuza faces 20 years in prison for kidnapping and torturing his ex-wife with a stun gun.

Hidehisa Semba, 52, yesterday pleaded guilty as charged to eight felony counts, including two counts of kidnapping, first-degree burglary, first-degree terroristic threatening, second-degree assault, first-degree attempted assault and two drug offenses.

Under a plea agreement, Semba faces a 20-year term when sentenced Nov. 27. The state is expected to ask the parole board that he serve the full 20 years.

Semba's attorney, William Harrison said he will ask that his client serve a mandatory minimum of 2 1/2 years for possessing crystal methamphetamine, followed by deportation.

Also, Semba disavows any involvement or ties with the yakuza, Harrison said.

Semba, along with two cohorts, was charged with breaking into his ex-wife's Ala Moana apartment Jan. 18. Semba stunned her with a stun gun and assaulted her and her male companion and tied them up, said Deputy Prosecutor Lynne Jenkins McGivern

Semba, with the help of cohort Gaylen Aleka, then drove his ex-wife to an airport hotel room where she was held and threatened. The ex-wife managed to escape her bonds the next morning after Semba fell asleep.

The ex-wife told police later Semba threatened to have the yakuza kill her and her children and told her he had hired yakuza to kill her on another occasion.

Federal officials had investigated threats made against her by Semba in 1998, but no charges were filed.

Harrison said he will show at sentencing that Semba was mentally ill and under the influence of crystal methamphetamine. "He was under the belief he was rescuing her from the man in the apartment."

Semba, who has a long history of mental illness, was evaluated by a panel of court-appointed doctors who found that he did suffer from a mental illness but was not substantially impaired at the time, Harrison said.

Aleka, who helped Semba tie up his ex-wife, pleaded guilty earlier to two counts of kidnapping and first-degree burglary. He faces up to 10 years when sentenced next month.

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