Japanese police have started a major manhunt after a Chinese gangster convicted of attempted cop killing escaped from prison by clambering over the prison’s perimeter fence, which they had conveniently left covered in scaffolding.
The 40-year-old Chinese national was serving a 23 year prison sentence at a Hiroshima prison for attempted murder, interference with official duties and weapons offences, when he successfully escaped.
His current whereabouts are completely unknown.
Police think he easily scaled the exercise yard’s 2.6m high wall, and then cunningly climbed over the scaffolding covering the prison’s single 3-8m high perimeter wall, which was undergoing extensive construction work and evidently not under very thorough supervision.
His escape came to light after guards noticed he was absent from an exercise roll call, and a member of the public reported seeing a figure getting up from the ground outside the prison and fleeing the site, which is in the midst of a residential neighbourhood.
The entire escape took under 10 minutes; police say none of the facility’s cameras managed to record his actual escape as it took place in a blind spot, and there were no cameras at all monitoring the perimeter wall.
98 cameras were being monitored by a single warden, who did not notice anything was amiss until he rechecked the footage after the incident was already over. A single camera recorded someone poking his head out of a man-sized gap between two buildings.
The prison “regrets the fact that we left blind spots in the camera coverage.”
An alarm system was present at the perimeter wall, but it had been turned off whilst construction was ongoing. He simply avoided other alarms in the facility.
He was clad in white prison scrubs when he escaped, but left them at the wall and ran off in his underwear with no money – although as the prison is surrounded by dense housing, obtaining fresh clothing is unlikely to be challenging.
He is believed to be a member of the “Dragons,” a Japanese ethnic Chinese criminal gang with yakuza and pachinko industry connections.
As well as attempted murder and various weapons offences, he is thought to have been behind ¥68,000,000 in thefts from 9 pachinko parlours and post offices from 2004-5.
Hiroshima police have already mobilised 160 officers to hunt for him, although as he looks like virtually every other craggy middle-aged Japanese male they have received a deluge of sightings but no actual useful information.
Police suspect he will be able to receive assistance from his gang, further complicating his recapture.
Local authorities have been driven into a frenzy of panic, with police issuing their highest priority wanted level and 92 local schools ordering all pupils to make their way to and from school in groups, in case he mysteriously decides to attack any children.
Those less crazed with panic at the thought of an evil Chinese monster on the loose have been wondering just how the prison managed to let one of its wards climb over a wall and away, and on a more basic level why they had to situate a prison in the middle of a densely populated residential neighbourhood in the first place.
After police recently turned away an Aum Shinrikyo cultist wanted for years thinking he was joking when he said he wanted to turn himself in, and only days later managed to let a double-murderer kill himself in police custody, the matter of Japanese police incompetence is now almost as pressing as the need to shoot all foreigners:
“Japanese cops are so high level, aren’t they?”
“Why didn’t they have anyone watching their scaffolding? Are they idiots?”
“The warden wasn’t looking and didn’t notice he was gone until roll call. They gave him a way out with the scaffolding. It was all recorded on their cameras but nobody was actually monitoring them. Please just sack them all and stop wasting our taxes on this stuff.”
“If they issued a wanted status for him it means they know they have no chance of catching him.”
“Cops have an average salary of over $100,000…”
“First they turn that guy away, then they let their suspect kill himself, now this. Do your job, you morons!”
“There is no way that guy killed himself.”
“All the foreigners in the area should be banned from going outside. Then they can just shoot any Asian they see on the street!”
“I think Japanese are known globally as being Asians themselves…”
“Chinese and Koreans should be made to wear labels. If they don’t have labels, shoot them!”
“Why are we feeding some Chinese criminal with our taxes? He shouldn’t even be fed pig swill, reduce him to ashes!”
“Foreigners who commit crimes ought to have GPS transmitters surgically embedded into their bodies. As well as all Koreans! They could be spies!”
“He’s only Chinese, shooting him is nothing.”
“This is serious, the media should be updating us on what is happening constantly. Is the reason they aren’t because he is Chinese?”
“Don’t you net right wingers have jobs or something to be doing? This hardly matters.”
“More of you creepy net right wingers discriminating against foreigners. If any foreigners see this, please ignore them. They are just idiots.”
“In other countries the cops are busy trying to destroy their mafia, in Japan the police just want to take over the yakuza’s interests…”
“Hurry up and shoot him!”
“He has like a 6 star wanted level in GTA now.”
“Hopefully the Hiroshima yakuza will find him if asked.”
“Those worthless punks!? They’ll just be frightened of the bad Chinese. Besides, don’t ask for help from a bunch of crazy gangsters.”
“I heard the Yamaguchi control the Hiroshima prisons. He didn’t escape, he was released.”
“There are no Yamaguchi in Hiroshima!”
“Yakuza really are frightened of foreigners though. I saw one trying to look scary in his sunglasses, only to take them off and get worried when he saw a bunch of black guys… no wonder they never fight with overseas mafia.”
“Most of them are Koreans these days though.”
“He’s probably not even in the country any more.”
“He’ll just turn up in Osaka.”
“If he’d just stuck to robbing pachinko parlours I could’ve forgiven him.”
“Arrest the prison governor.”
“Don’t forget to give those construction workers a good talking to… as well as whoever authorised that work.”
“Is all that stuff about him being ex-PLA specops true?”
“That is probably not true…”
“This guy is legendary. He stole a safe from a pachinko parlour in 2005, then beat a cop with a club, fired a gun at him, and later stole a police car and escaped. He ended up with a 23-year sentence, and today he escaped…”
[This is all true, or at least was reported in the Japanese media]
“This is like something from a manga…”
Update: As of Friday, police report they have captured the fugitive in Hiroshima.