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Aichi: Ex-yakuza who fled to Thailand indicted for ’03 murder

Shigeharu Shirai
Shigeharu Shirai

MIE (TR) – Prosecutors have indicted a former Japanese organized crime member who had fled to Thailand over the murder of a gangster in Mie Prefecture 15 years ago, reports Nippon News Network (Feb. 23).

On Thursday, the Tsu District Public Prosecutor’s Office formally accused Shigeharu Shirai, 74, of murder and violating the Swords and Firearms Control Law.

According to the indictment, Shirai allegedly conspired with seven other persons in the shooting death of an upper-level member of the Kodo-kai, an affiliate gang of the Yamaguchi-gumi, in the town of Takasucho in Tsu City in July of 2003.

Last month, Thai police arrested Shirai in Lopburi Province, where he is believed to have been in hiding for 13 years, on suspicion of overstaying his visa. He was apprehended after he was identified in a video posted to Facebook by a local resident.

In a video provided by Thai police, Shirai was shown wearing a baseball cap and a short-sleeve shirt that he pulled down to reveal colorful irezumi tattoos, which are often associated with underworld figures, on his arms and torso. He was extradited to Japan earlier this month.

Upon his arrest, Shirai generally acknowledged the allegations. However, prosecutors did not divulge whether he admits to the crimes.