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Germany: Mystery over Japanese chef's island death

Friday - 5/17/2013, 10:27am  ET

FILE - In this May 13, 2013 file picture, persons pass the restaurant 'Nozawa', left, in Westerland on the German North Sea island of Sylt. Authorities in Germany said Friday May 17, 2013 they are investigating a Japanese chef's death following a fight with two customers who had complained about his food. Prosecutors say Miki Nozawa died Monday May 13, 2013 following a brawl with the two men at a nightclub near his restaurant on the North Sea resort island of Sylt. German tabloid newspaper Bild reported the men had refused to pay for a dish of fried rice with vegetables and beef. The paper said Nozawa was a "star chef" who previously worked in Berlin and Sardinia. (AP Photo/dpa,Friederike Reussner,file)

BERLIN (AP) -- Germany's swanky resort island of Sylt has been shaken by the death of a Japanese chef following a fight with two customers who had complained about his food.

Miki Nozawa died Monday from a brain hemorrhage after a brawl with the two men at a nightclub near his restaurant in the North Sea island's main town of Westerland.

Prosecutors are waiting for a second autopsy report to determine whether Nozawa -- who had opened his restaurant less than three months earlier -- died as a result of the fight or due to an existing medical condition.

"We are shocked and stunned, especially by the brutality of what happened," Mayor Carsten Kerkamm told The Associated Press on Friday. "We only know such things from TV."

The island's 20,000 permanent residents are rarely exposed to violent crime, though extra police are brought in during the summer months when vacationers and day trippers swell the population fivefold.

German tabloid newspaper Bild reported the men, who are under investigation but have yet to be arrested or charged, had refused to pay for a dish of fried rice with vegetables and beef.

The German news agency dpa reported that Nozawa, 57, specialized in Japanese-Italian fusion cuisine and had previously worked at the exclusive restaurant "Billionaire," owned by Italian tycoon Flavio Briatore, on Sardinia.

Prosecutors' spokesman Ruediger Meienburg said Friday they are hoping further tests will reveal in the coming days why Nozawa died.

"It can't be said with certainty that the violence was the reason for the brain hemorrhage. The cause could also have been medical issues the victim had," Meienburg said.


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