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Japanese fugitive arrested in Thailand after tattoos recognised online

A 72-year-old Japanese fugitive who was recognised when his full-body tattoos were circulated online has been arrested by police in Thailand.

A police statement said Shigeharu Shirai was arrested on Wednesday in a province north of Bangkok, where he has been hiding for more than 10 years to evade murder charges in Japan in connection with the death of a rival gang member.

His arrest apparently came after photos of him sitting around a checkers table were posted on Facebook in August last year by a Thai who was impressed by the man's tattoos.

The post was shared more than 10,000 times when some users identified the former gang member.

Police General Wirachai Songmetta said Japanese associates paid visits to Shirai two to three times a year, each time bearing cash gifts at around 10,000 baht (£231).

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

According to police, Shirai was a member of the Yamaguchi-gumi gang, a faction within Japan's Yakuza.

He is implicated, along with seven others, in the killing of Kashihiko Otobe, who was the deputy leader of the rival Kamiya gang.

Shirai will face illegal entry charges before he is handed over to Japanese authorities, the police statement said.


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