Tattoos lead Thai police to arrest Japanese gangst

Tattoos lead Thai police to arrest Japanese gangst

Thai police have arrested a 72-year-old Japanese fugitive who was recognized when his full-body tattoos were circulated online.

AFP reports eight gang members were said to be involved in the rival's murder; the others were all arrested and sentenced to 12 to 17 years.

Images of Shigeharu Shirai playing draughts went viral on the internet, leading to his capture.

Authorities said Thursday a former Japanese Yakuza crime boss was arrested after 15 years on the run - for the death of a rival gangster, after a photo of his tattoos were noticed on Facebook.

Police said the attention of Japanese authorities was drawn after pictures of Yakuza tattoos covering Shirai's back went viral on social media.According to the Nation, a Facebook user who himself has colourful tattoos all over his body, posted photos of the Japenese man in August past year.

Police said he had confessed to being part of the Yamaguchi-gumi gang within Japan's Yakuza, but not to murder.

The man, identified as Shigeharu Shirai, is a high-ranking member of the Japanese mafia known as the Yakuza, and in addition to tattoos on his back and upper arms, the tip of his little finger gave away his status as a Japanese mobster.


He was married to a Thai woman and had kept a low profile over the past decade, police said.

The photos were shared more than 10,000 times, catching the attention of the Japanese police who asked their Thai counterparts to arrest the man.

He has not admitted to the murder, but according to Thai police spokesman, "The suspect has not confessed to murder but has admitted that the victim used to bully him".

Police Gen. Wirachai Songmetta said that Japanese associates paid visits to Shirai two to three times a year, each time bearing cash gifts at around 10,000 baht ($312).

With no passport or visa, he was officially arrested for entering Thailand illegally and will be extradited to face prosecution in Japan.

Traditionally they have been tolerated as a necessary evil to keep order on the streets, although the authorities are now trying to reign in their criminal behaviour, banning banks from allowing gangsters to set up accounts. Unlike the Italian mafia or Chinese triads, Yakuza gangs aren't actually illegal, and sometimes the headquarters of each group is in full view of police.

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