Police capture 72 -year-old Japanese fugitive who was recognised when images of his body art were circulated online
A retired Japanese felony boss has been arrested in Thailand, purposing more than 14 times on the run, after photos of his yakuza tattoos and a missing little finger moved viral.
Shigeharu Shirai, 72, was grasped while he was shopping on Wednesday in the central market town of Lopburi.
Japanese authorities had sought his arrest over an alleged role in the shooting of a challenger in 2003, after which he fled to Thailand, married a local both women and floated into a apparently peaceful retirement.
That was until nearby residents posted photos of the diminutive retiree playing a streetside checkers game with his intricate gang tattoos on full depict and a missing little finger- yakuza members often slice off a fingertip to atone for an offence.
The images were shared more than 10,000 periods and caught “members attention” of Japanese police, who alerted the Thai authorities.
” The suppose admitted he was the leader of the yakuza sub-gang Kodokai ,” said a Thai police spokesman, Gen Wirachai Songmetta, referring to an affiliate of Japan’s largest yakuza gang, Yamaguchi-gumi.
The yakuza emerged in the chaos of postwar Japan, transforming into multibillion-dollar criminal organisations involved in gambling, narcotics, prostitution, loan sharking, protection rackets and white-collar crime.
They were tolerated as a necessary cruelty to continue order on the street- nonetheless dubious the means. Unlike the Italian mafia or Chinese triads, yakuza are not illegal and each group has its own headquarters, sometimes in full view of police.
Shirai is accused of shooting dead the boss of a rival clique, for which seven members of his gang were imprisoned for between 12 and 17 years.
” The suspect has not confessed to murder but has admitted that the victim used to bully him ,” the Thai police spokesman said.
The mobster boss kept a low profile during his stay in Thailand, police said, receiving money two or three times each year from a visiting Japanese man.
With no passport or visa, he was arrested for entering Thailand illegally and is likely to be extradited to face prosecution in Japan.