Yakuza gang member escorted to Lop Buri for re-enactment

The Yakuza gang member arrested in Lop Buri on charge of illegal entry was today (Jan 11) escorted by police to a rice mill in the same province where he used to work and stay.

Pol Gen Wirachai Songmetta, the deputy national police chief, said that the Japanese Yakuza gang member, 74-year old Shigeharu Shirai, who was wanted in Japan on gang murder 15 years ago denied the murder charge.

However, he admitted of being a member of the Yamaguchi-gumi Yakuza gang.

After the visit to the rice mill in a tambon self-help community in Muang district for a re-enactment of his previous activity of working and staying there, Shirai was escorted back to Immigration Police’s detention centre to be detained as ordered by Lop Buri Kwaeng court after he was found guilty of illegal entry and overstaying his visa and fined 1,500 baht.

Pol Gen Wirachai said that Shirai, while being in Lop Buri, was visited by some Japanese 2-3 times a year and, each time, was given 10,000 baht by his visitors.  He added that police were investigating Yakuza network in Thailand.

Regarding the rice mill owner, Mr Thawatchai Jenakhom, police inquiry officers said he was charged with hiring an illegal immigrant to work without a permit.

Shirai is accused of being one of eight gangsters involved in the murder of another gang leader in 2003.  The other seven have been arrested by Japanese police, but Shirai escaped to Thailand in 2005.

Shirai’s arrest on Wednesday apparently stemmed from photos of him sitting around a checkers table were posted on the Facebook in last August by a Thai who was impressed by his tattoos.

The post was shared over 10,000 times and caught attention from Japanese police.