Japanese Cult Member Katsuya Takahashi Arrested After 17 Years
(TOKYO) -- The last remaining fugitive of the doomsday cult responsible for killing 13 people in Japan’s worst domestic terror attack has been arrested, ending an intense manhunt that gripped the nation for more than a week.
Katsuya Takahashi, 54, was arrested at a comic book café in the Tokyo neighborhood of Kamata Friday morning, after an employee spotted him and called police, according to broadcaster NHK. He had been on the run for 17 years.
Takahashi’s capture ends a nationwide manhunt that began on June 3 after the arrest of another cult member, Naoko Kikuchi, who reportedly lived with him between 2001 and 2006. The information Kikuchi shared with police helped investigators close in on Takahashi’s trail.
Thirteen members of the Aum Shinrikyo cult, including founder Shoko Asahara, have already been sentenced to death for their crimes. In March 1995, the group unleashed sarin nerve gas on five trains in the Tokyo subway in a coordinated attack that killed 13 commuters and injured thousands more.
Police say Takahashi had been working for a construction company using a false name and had been living in a company dormitory south of Tokyo. He went missing the day after Kikuchi was arrested, but he was spotted on surveillance camera at a local bank a few days later. Police released hundreds of fliers with Takahashi’s photo, eventually leading to his arrest on Friday.
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