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Arrest of serial murderer shocks Japan

Posted November. 02, 2017 07:32,   

Updated November. 02, 2017 09:14


Japanese police have arrested a 27-year-old man who is suspected to have murdered nine people over a period of two months, luring some of the victims via social media for a suicide pact. Investigators found nine dismembered bodies including severed heads and bones.

According to the Asahi Shimbun daily newspaper and other Japanese media outlets, Tokyo police arrested Takahiro Shiraishi in apartment in Zama, Kanagawa Prefecture. He is suspected to have murdered four in their late teens and five in their 20s since August 22, when he moved into the apartment. One victim was a male, while the others were female.

He admitted to the killings, saying that he contacted them via Twitter and murdered them on the first day he met each of them. Police said his motives were to take their money and sexually assaulting them.

Reportedly, police were able to find Shiraishi thanks to the brother of one of the female victims who reported to police on his missing sister on October 24. Before she disappeared, she had posted on her Twitter account that she was looking for someone to join her in suicide. The suspect lured her to his apartment with a joint suicide offer before killing her. Police suspect that Shiraishi also lured the other victims with a suicide offer to rape and murder them.

Shiraishi, who is known to have worked as a scout for the sex trade in Tokyo’s Shinjuku nightlife district, was arrested in February on charges of getting involved in sex trade and received a six-month suspended sentence. After that, he reportedly told his father that his life had no meaning.

The Yomiuri Shimbun daily quoted a criminal psychologist as saying that the repeated murders in such a short period of time were unprecedented and that the widespread use of social media has enabled the criminal to easily contact people with suicidal intentions.

Won-Jae Jang peacechaos@donga.com