A Japanese Yakuza boss, who has been on the run for 15 years, has been arrested in Thailand after pictures of his tattoos went viral on Facebook.

Shigeharu Shirai, the yakuza boss, is accused of murdering a rival gang in 2003.

A local person in Thailand unaware of the 74-year old fugitive’s identity took the photographs of the yakuza boss which showed his signature yakuza tattoos.

Yakuza gangs have been part of Japanese society for centuries and have an estimated 60,000 members across the country.

While much of the yakuza gangs’ incomes come from illegal gambling, prostitution, drug trafficking and cyber-hacking, but the yakuza as an organization is not banned in Japan.

The photographs of Mr Shirai’s tattoos went viral which caught the attention of Japanese police who later ordered his arrest.

Thai police arrested him in the town of Lopburi, north of Bangkok, for visa violations and he will soon be extradited to Japan where he will face the murder charges.

According to Thai police, the 74-year old man admitted he was a member of a yakuza gang but did not confess to the 2003 murder.

The Facebook pictures show an old and delicate-looking man with his entire back and most of his chest covered in tattoos playing a board game with his fellow retirees by the side of the road.

The photographs also show that the man is missing part of his little finger, which often is caused by a self-administered punishment for members of Japanese yakuza gangs as reparation for their mistakes.


More details to follow. Image 1 of Shigeharu Shirai from AsiaOne.

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