Aum cult fugitive surrenders after 17 years on the run


A former member of Japan’s Aum Supreme Truth doomsday cult, which was responsible for the 1995 nerve-gas attack on the Tokyo subway, was arrested Sunday after almost 17 years on the run, police said. Makoto Hirata, 46, turned himself into a police station in central Tokyo just 10 minutes before midnight on New Year’s Eve, according to media reports.
He was held on suspicion of taking part in a plot to kidnap and confine a brother of an Aum follower who had escaped from the cult in February 1995, a month before the attack, a Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department spokesman said. The victim, who was 68, died from tracheal obstruction a day later when he was given an injection at Aum’s main commune at the foot of Mount Fuji, the official said. “Hirata was arrested on suspicion of abduction and confinement resulting in death,” he said.
The crime is punishable by at least two years in prison. “I want to give myself a sense of closure after so many years passed,” Hirata told investigators, according to the reports. “I only drove a car,” he added about his role in the plot which was, according to police, led by Aum guru Shoko Asahara.