Monday 24 September 2018

Thief found after 1,000 police join manhunt in Japan

Japanese fugitive Tatsuma Hirao is escorted as he leaves a police department in Hiroshima after he was arrested on April 30, 2018.AFP PHOTO / JIJI PRESS / JIJI PRESS / Japan OUTJIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images
Japanese fugitive Tatsuma Hirao is escorted as he leaves a police department in Hiroshima after he was arrested on April 30, 2018.AFP PHOTO / JIJI PRESS / JIJI PRESS / Japan OUTJIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images
Japanese fugitive Tatsuma Hirao is escorted as he leaves a police department in Hiroshima after he was arrested on April 30, 2018.AFP PHOTO / JIJI PRESS / JIJI PRESS / Japan OUTJIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images
Japanese fugitive Tatsuma Hirao is escorted as he leaves a police department in Hiroshima after he was arrested on April 30, 2018.AFP PHOTO / JIJI PRESS / JIJI PRESS / Japan OUTJIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images

Mari Yamaguchi

A convicted thief was recaptured three weeks after a rare escape from a Japanese prison and an island manhunt involving more than 1,000 police.

Tatsuma Hirao escaped from a low-security prison in Ehime prefecture on April 8 during a work assignment while serving a five-and-a-half year sentence for theft.

He allegedly drove a stolen car along a highway connecting several islands and arrived on the island of Mukaishima, where more than 1,000 police searched for him daily.

They said his fingerprints were detected at the scenes of several reported thefts of clothes and food since his escape.

Japanese fugitive Tatsuma Hirao is escorted as he leaves a police department in Hiroshima after he was arrested on April 30, 2018.AFP PHOTO / JIJI PRESS / JIJI PRESS / Japan OUTJIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images
Japanese fugitive Tatsuma Hirao is escorted as he leaves a police department in Hiroshima after he was arrested on April 30, 2018.AFP PHOTO / JIJI PRESS / JIJI PRESS / Japan OUTJIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images

Hirao, 27, was arrested on Monday after being spotted walking on a street in Hiroshima.

In a video of the arrest broadcast on TV Asahi, a man identified as Hirao tried to climb over a concrete wall to escape, but was pulled down, thrown to the ground and seized by two policemen.

Japanese fugitive Tatsuma Hirao is escorted as he leaves a police department in Hiroshima after he was arrested on April 30, 2018.AFP PHOTO / JIJI PRESS / JIJI PRESS / Japan OUTJIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images
Japanese fugitive Tatsuma Hirao is escorted as he leaves a police department in Hiroshima after he was arrested on April 30, 2018.AFP PHOTO / JIJI PRESS / JIJI PRESS / Japan OUTJIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images

Media reports say Hirao told police that he swam from Mukaishima to Hiroshima to escape the manhunt.

Japan has a relatively low crime rate, and prison escapes are rare.

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