Full-body tattoos lead to arrest of 72-year-old Japanese fugitive

Full-body tattoos lead to arrest of 72-year-old Japanese fugitive

The fugitive has been accused of shooting rival gangster Kashihiko Otobe, who was the deputy leader of the rival Kamiya gang, a crime which seven members of Shirai's gang were imprisoned for 12-17 years for.

Police said the attention of Japanese authorities was drawn after pictures of Yakuza tattoos covering Shirai's back went viral on social media.According to the Nation, a Facebook user who himself has colourful tattoos all over his body, posted photos of the Japenese man in August previous year.

The person who posted the photos was impressed by the tattoos and captioned the photo "Uncle, you're my idol".

"When I grow old, I want to be like him".

According to Thai police, he admitted he was a member of a yakuza gang but did not confess to the 2003 murder.

His arrest brought an end to a multi-national manhunt between the Thai Investigation Bureau and the Japanese Interpol.

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Investigators said Mr Shirai was a member of the Yamaguchi-gumi gang, a faction within Japan's yakuza.

Mr Shirai is wanted for murder 14 years ago and is suspected of being part of a gang that killed... When he got to Thailand - reportedly in 2005 - he married a local woman and seemed to settle down for retirement as a runaway, receiving money two or three times a year from visiting Japanese men.

Along with his tattoos, Shirai is also missing a little finger on his left hand - a common punishment for Yakuza members.

Police detained him in the town of Lopburi, north of Bangkok, for visa violations and he will be extradited to Japan to face the murder charges.

The full body suit tattoo, which covers nearly the whole body such as Shirai's, is typical of the designs seen on members. Each group has its own headquarters, sometimes in full view of the police, who refer to them as b?ryokudan [violent groups].

Traditionally they have been tolerated as a necessary evil to keep order on the streets, although the authorities are now trying to reign in their criminal behaviour, banning banks from allowing gangsters to set up accounts.

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