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Hiroshima: Fugitive nabbed after three weeks on run

Tatsuma Hirao
Tatsuma Hirao (Twitter)

HIROSHIMA (TR) – After a three-week manhunt, Hiroshima Prefectural Police on Monday arrested an escaped convict in Hiroshima City, a distance of nearly 100 kilometers from where officers had been searching, reports the Mainichi Shimbun (Apr. 30).

At 11:38 a.m., police working off a tip apprehended 27-year-old Tatsuma Hirao, who escaped from Oi Shipyard at Matsuyama Prison in Imabari City, Ehime Prefecture earlier this month.

At around 6:00 p.m. on April 8, Hirao escaped from the Oi Shipyard at Matsuyama Prison in Imabari. Police believe he escaped through an unlocked window on the first floor of the prison, which does not have a fence.

Police believe that Hirao then stole a vehicle from a house near the prison and drove in the direction of Hiroshima. At around 8:30 p.m., the vehicle was found abandoned in Onomichi, located about 60 kilometers from Imabari.

Following Hirao’s escape, more than 1,000 officers from Hiroshima and Ehime prefectural police forces had been scouring the landscape and residences of Mukaishima island, Hiroshima, which includes Onomichi.

On Monday, police apprehended Hirao near JR Hiroshima Station, which is located about 90 kilometers from Onomichi. He was subsequently accused of desertion, a charge he admits to, police said.

Last December, Hirao entered Matsuyama Prison after being convicted of theft. The institution is one of four institutions in the nation that does not have a perimeter fence.