BANGKOK – The characteristic tattoos worn by yakuza members and the power of social media led to the arrest in Thailand of a member of the Japanese mafia, who had fled from Japan after the shooting of a rival over 14 years ago, police officials said on Thursday.
Shineharu Shirai, 74, who married a Thai woman, was arrested on Wednesday in Lopburi, the capital of Lopburi Province, located around 120 kilometers (75 miles) north of Bangkok, provincial police official Col. Ukrit Pooklan told EFE.
Ukrit said the arrest was made in the evening when the Japanese man, whose left pinkie was amputated in a ritual known as yubitsume, was found playing a game of checkers.
Some photos of the tattoos on Shirai’s chest and back, taken without his knowledge and posted on social media, gave away his presence in Thailand and caught the attention of Japanese police, who contacted the Interpol, who in turn alerted the Thai police.
According to Thai police, Shirai will be taken to Bangkok, where immigration officials will decide what to do about his illegal situation in the country, as he does not have the proper documents, and he will then probably be sent back to Japan.
The detainee, who belonged to the Yamaguchi-gumi gang, according to Thai media, has not been to Japan since 2003.