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Japanese Fugitive Spends Three Hours Trying to Turn Himself In


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For the past 16 years, Japanese police have been looking for Aum Shinrikyo member Makoto Hirata. Images of his face have appeared on thousands of wanted posters, but police failed to find Hirata.

All of that changed on the night of December 31st, when Hirata tried to turn himself in to police. But before he could find someone willing to place him under arrest, he was given several opportunities to change his mind and remain a fugitive.

  • Before 9:00 PM – Hirata went to the Osaki police station in Tokyo, but couldn’t locate its entrance.
  • Shortly after 9:00 PM – Hirata tried used a pay phone to call up the police and report his willingness to surrender, but after about 10 attempts he could not get through to them.
  • 11:35 PM – Hirata traveled across town to the police HQ in Kasumigaseki, found an officer on guard duty, and announced his identity. The officer thought Hirata was joking, and told him to surrender himself at a normal police station instead.
  • 11:50 PM – Hirata walked 600 meters to the Marunouchi police station, where he finally found an officer willing to place him under arrest.

A truly mind-boggling series of events. One can only hope that the officer who turned away Hirata was not a representative example of Tokyo police officers. (And if it actually is so hard to call up the police and report a sighting of a wanted criminal, the Police really need to make some improvements.)

Maybe his name was actually on the Japan most unwanted list.


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