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Ex-yakuza accused in fatal shooting had help while on run

TOKYO (TR) – On July 11, police apprehended Masaru Abe, a 56-year-old former member of the Sumiyoshi-kai inside a parking lot in Edogawa Ward, the end of his six months on the run.

Officers later accused Abe of fatally shooting Lee Hung Jong, a 65-year-old former member of the same gang, in the chest and arm inside a karaoke parlor in the Kabukicho red-light district on January 21.

This week, police announced the arrest of four other persons, including former Sumiyoshi-kai member Hiroshi Kanai, for allegedly assisting Abe while he was a fugitive, reports NHK (Oct. 10).

According to police, Kanai and the other three suspects transported Abe by car from the capital to a hotel in Nikko City, Tochigi Prefecture. The suspects also sheltered him in an apartment between February and July.

Kanai and two other suspects admit to the allegations. Meanwhile, the fourth denies the charges. “I have no idea,” the suspect was quoted by police.

Masaru Abe
Masaru Abe before his arrest, left, and after (Twitter)

Following the shooting in Shinjuku, Abe fled by motorcycle. Police later found a motorcycle, helmet and red hat at an apartment building in the Okubo area, about 600 meters from the where the incident took place.

Just before apprehending Abe in July, police spotted a vehicle that he is believed to have used in the parking lot. When he approached the vehicle, about 10 officers were waiting for him.

“I aimed for his heart”

At the time, Abe was wearing a women’s wig, black glasses and a brown hat, a disguise that he believed to have used during his time on the run.

“I aimed for his heart and fired several shots,” Abe was quoted by police in admitting to murder.

Lee was a national of South Korea who left the Sumiyoshi-kai more than two decades ago. An investigative source told weekly tabloid Shukan Bunshun that the motive for the crime was revenge.

“Immediately following the incident, it emerged that [Lee] stole Abe’s girlfriend while he was in prison,” the investigative source said.