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Saitama hostage standoff at internet cafe ends in arrest of 40-year-old man

SAITAMA (TR) – Saitama Prefectural Police on Friday arrested a 40-year-old man after a hostage standoff at an internet cafe in Saitama City extended for more than 30 hours, reports TBS News (June 19).

At around 10:40 p.m., police apprehended Kazutaka Hayashi, of no known occupation, after he fell asleep inside a room of the cafe. His hostage, a female staff member in here 20s, was unharmed police said.

The incident began at the cafe in Omiya Ward on Thursday afternoon. At around 4:10 p.m., another staff member called police. “A female staff member who visited the private booth of a customer at around 2:00 p.m. hasn’t returned,” the caller said.

After the standoff began, police communicated with Hayashi through an intercom. “I’ve got a knife,” he reportedly said. “Back off, or I’m going to die together with this woman.” The staff member also spoke through the intercom.

Kazutaka Hayashi (Twitter)

The cafe, which includes 64 rooms, is on the sixth and seventh floors of a building in a commercial district near the West Exit of JR Omiya Station.

The room in question is on the seventh floor. Police believe that manipulated the lock for the room from the inside so that a master key could not open it from the outside.

At around noon on Friday, police provided the pair with food and water. Starting at around 8:00 p.m., Hayashi stopped speaking through the intercom, which led police to believe he had dozed off.

The investigation is ongoing, including regarding whether the suspect actually had a knife.