Fugitive yakuza gang member arrested in Lop Buri

An aged member of Japan’s yakuza organisation who fled Japan after allegedly killing a gang leader in 2003, was arrested in Lop Buri province yesterday (Jan 10).

He was identified as Shigeharu Shirai.

According to Lop Buri provincial police, the arrest of the Japanese yakuza gang member was a cooperation between the Immigration Bureau and the Japanese Interpol in Tokyo after over a decade of investigation and hunting.

He was apprehended near Sarn Look Sorn shrine in the public park in Lop Buri town.

He earlier stayed with his Thai wife at a hostel room but later moved to stay at public park after running out of money.

The arrest of this Japanese aged yakuza gang member came after a Thai Facebook user posted the photographs of a Japanese old man with body tattoo sheltering near the shrine on August 8 last year saying he stayed with a Thai wife in Lop Buri.

The post was shared on the internet and later caught the attention of the Japanese Interpol which sought cooperation from the Thai police on Oct 27 to check.

Checking of the man with the body tattoo later revealed he is Shigeharu Shirai, 74.

He was wanted by the Japanese police for cooperating with six other gang members to shoot a gang leader to death 2003, and later fled the country, and into Thailand since 2005.

He was reported to live from house to house to avoid police tracking since then, until he ran out of money and stayed at public places.

Royal Thai Police deputy commissioner Pol Gen Wirachai Songmetta will join the Japanese embassy officials to hold a press conference on the arrest of the yakuza gang member in Lop Buri police station late this morning.