On 24 March 2007, Tatsuya Ichihashi (now 30 years old), a physical fitness freak loner living in Chiba, supported by his rich parents, brutally murdered Lindsay Ann Hawker, a 22-year-old English teacher from Britain and put her body in a sand and compost-filled bathtub on his balcony. Ichihashi escaped from the group of nine Japanese police who had gathered outside his apartment to question him by running away barefoot, and since then, in spite of being on a nationwide wanted list with 10 million yen on his head (c. USD110,000, GBP65,000), the Japanese police have been unable to find him.
However, a breakthrough was announced this week. A doctor at a hospital in Nagoya brought it to police attention that a plastic surgery patient treated in late October was probably Ichihashi. While suspicion had not been raised at the time of surgery, the next day when processing the documentation, the doctor had noticed a scar from previous plastic surgery on the patient where a mole unusual in a male had been removed.
The police have just released before and after photos of Ichihashi. The sharp-eyed, reasonably good-looking slayer has transformed himself into what looks like a low-browed Neanderthal halfwit.
Rumors that he had escaped to the Philippines, a well known refuge of Japanese criminals, are obviously unfounded.
How is he managing to survive, and how is he paying (in cash) the hundreds of thousands of yen required for multiple instances of plastic surgery? Are the police monitoring possible communication between him and his rich parents? (Dad’s a doctor, mom’s a dentist.) Japan is a very difficult place to hide. The physical size of the place means you can’t travel far, there are police everywhere, no shortage of security cameras, whatever you do when it comes to anything remotely official requires ID, and Ichihashi’s photo is prominently displayed at almost every police box (or koban) in the country. (They even have an artist’s impression of Ichihashi in drag!) Perhaps this new mugshot will see overdue justice done soon.
Any sightings of Ichihashi should be reported to the police at 047 397 0110.
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Saturday, November 07, 2009