2 months ago
Shigeharu Shirai, a 74-year-old Japanese man accused of a gang murder in Japan 15 years ago. Photo by Reuters  ~ 

A Japanese gang member who dodged murder charges for 15 years has been captured, apparently after images of the tattoos on his body posted on social media caught the cops’ eyes.

According to The Independent, Shigeharu Shirai (74) was arrested in a rural town north of Bangkok, Thailand where he had been quietly living with his Thai wife.

Cops say that members of Shirai’s gang would visit two or three times a year and bring cash gifts.

Shirai and seven others are accused of killing rival gang member, Kazuhiko Otobe, 14 years ago.

Japan has about 22 recognised “yakuza”, which are powerful underworld crime syndicates. They are involved in drugs and gambling, as well as more “respectable” industries like construction, finance and security businesses.

Shirai had been playing checkers at an outdoor table last year when a stranger took a photo of his incredible tattoos and posted them on Facebook. It got more than 10 000 shares.

Tattoos on the back and upper arms are common signs of belonging to a yakuza. Gang members also often are missing the tip of a little finger – as is Shirai.

Cop General Wirachai Songmetta said Shirai will face illegal entry charges before being handed over to Japanese authorities, according to the report.


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