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Viral Tattoo Picture Leads to the Arrest of a Fugitive Yakuza Member

Viral Tattoo Picture Leads to the Arrest of a Fugitive Yakuza Member

When a Facebook user in Thailand took a seemingly innocuous photo of a heavily tattooed 72-year-old man playing checkers back in August, they didn’t expect the post to go viral. And they certainly didn’t expect it to attract the attention of the Japanese authorities, who went on to identify the subject of the photo as a former crime boss who has been on the run for murder for the last 15 years. But sure enough, that is precisely what happened, and Shigeharu Shirai was at long last arrested and detained by Thai police earlier this month.

Via The Telegraph, Shirai was once a leader within the notorious Japanese crime syndicate, the Yakuza, and was accused of killing one his rival Yakuza leaders in 2003. According to the Japanese authorities, Shirai was identified in the picture thanks both to his tattoos and his missing pinkie finger. Tattoos of the variety adorning Shirai’s body are common to Yakuza members, and the group has been known to cut off pinkies as a form of penance.

Shirai has already appeared in court, and he has reportedly admitted that he was a Yakuza leader while denying that he was behind the murder of which he stands accused. Regardless, Shirai faces charges for illegally entering Thailand and he will likely be extradited back to Japan to stand trial for said crimes.

What do you think about Shirai’s story and the outcome of his viral celebrity? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Image: Time

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