Fugitive Ichihashi may be in Philippines

On March 26, 2007, as police converged on the Ichikawa City, Chiba, apartment of Tatsuya Ichihashi to find the evidence of his grisly crime, the sole suspect in the murder of then 22-year-old English teacher Lindsay Ann Hawker bolted past the men in blue in his bare feet and vanished without a trace.

But last month, a reporter for Spa! (Jan 20) obtained some startling evidence: that Ichihashi, who turned 30 on Jan 5, had gone to ground in the Philippines. The source was said to be none other than a high-ranking official in the Philippine government.

Using the Manila-based operator of a Japanese “support service” as an intermediary, the reporter was able to arrange an off-the-record meeting with the official.

“Several months ago, I was informed that Ichihashi moved from Cebu to Manila,” the source is quoted as saying. “While wanted posters bearing his ordinary photo have been circulated, he’s been posing as a woman and changes his hideout every couple of days. We haven’t been able to track down his location.”

The source went on to say that Ichihashi had entered the Philippines with his own passport, and that his entry had been recorded by passport control.

“It was over a year ago, but I heard from a friend (a Filipino) in Cebu that he had seen someone who appeared to be Ichihashi,” a 30-year Japanese resident of Manila named “Michael” tells the reporter. “A check of entry data found a person with the same name and age as Ichihashi had entered the country. This was relayed by telephone to the Gyotoku police station in Chiba, which said they’d confirm the details and if it was the same person, they’d dispatch someone to Cebu right away. But they never called back.”

“Until a suspect is made target of a nationwide dragnet, it’s entirely possible to depart the country without any check,” explains Ken Kitashiba, a former investigator in the Tokyo Metropolitan Police. “What’s more, to initiate an international dragnet, first the ICPO headquarters in France must be informed in writing. It takes several days to get the information into computers, and several weeks to determine what sort of warrant should be issued. Many criminals have been able to network with the underworld to flee abroad.”

Kitashiba offers several explanations as to why the special squad set up to investigate the Hawker killing might have been slow to take action. “Right after it happened, they were flooded with weird calls round the clock,” he says. “So the problem might have been too much information coming in. It might just have wound up in the stack of other possible sightings.”

The Philippines has become something of a haven for criminals wanted by authorities in Japan, and Kitashiba thinks if Ichihashi adopts a female guise, he might be able to remain on the lam for quite some time.

“For a little over 10,000 yen, he can buy a new identity,” Kitashiba points out. “And if he undergoes plastic surgery, he might not get caught at all.”

  • 0

    ultradodgy

    As horrific as the police here are, I can't possible imagine that they are worse than the sensationlistic and yet amazingly naiive domestic media.

    I have no idea why JT would chose to post this article, which likely has zero basis in fact and only serves to sensationalize a very tragic story.

  • 0

    UnagiDon

    ultradodgy;

    JT posted it because it's guaranteed to get tons of posts.

  • 0

    Altria

    I heard he's gone undercover as one of bin Laden's wives.

  • 0

    GW

    surely EVEN the keystones cud figure out(ok well maybe not) if this guys passport was used to depart these isles........sounds like this blurb is designed to sell mags & garner hits on the net, std operating procedure around here.

  • 0

    shouganaika

    they never called back

    the kettle was about to boil. still this is kuchikomi section, the equivalent of the Sunday Sport

  • 0

    whyamiinjapan

    "bolted past the men in blue in his bare feet and vanished without a trace"

    Interesting. I wonder how many he will kill down there. He'll get caught and someone will hang him by his tests are great for assessing the learning process.

  • 0

    tmarie

    No surprise they didn't call back - out of their country so why bother is probably their thinking. What I don't understand is how he was able to get in on his own passport without it being reported. He would have had to book a ticket in his name, show airport staff and immigration his passport... No one bothered to report this???

  • 0

    PepinGalarga

    tmarie: “Until a suspect is made target of a nationwide dragnet, it’s entirely possible to depart the country without any check" they blew it... he's probably trying out for the Cirque de Soleil in Afghanistan by now.

  • 0

    TokyoGas

    “Until a suspect is made target of a nationwide dragnet, it’s entirely possible to depart the country without any check,” explains Ken Kitashiba, a former investigator in the Tokyo Metropolitan Police.

    As this place is an island, wouldn't it be wise to tag the passports of all persons wanted for crimes, especially violent crimes, so they cannot escape by plane to a foreign country?

  • 0

    borscht

    TokyoGas,

    You mean the government should fingerprint the natives of this safety country and keep their passports on file? Don't be daft, old boy.

  • 0

    Betting

    "The Philippines has become something of a haven for criminals wanted by authorities in Japan".

    So that is why there is so little crime in Japan.

  • 0

    Ke11iente

    I agree with ultradodgy. I'm not giving this any credence.

  • 0

    bushlover

    Pardon but this is not a pun or sarcasm but this article is Yellow Journalism at it's best. Get your head around this. [The source went on to say that Ichihashi had entered the Philippines with his own passport, and that his entry had been recorded by passport control. “It was over a year ago, but I heard from a friend (a Filipino) in Cebu that he had seen someone who appeared to be Ichihashi,” a 30-year Japanese resident of Manila named “Michael” tells the reporter. “A check of entry data found a person with the same name and age as Ichihashi had entered the country. This was relayed by telephone to the Gyotoku police station in Chiba, which said they’d confirm the details and if it was the same person, they’d dispatch someone to Cebu right away. But they never called back.”] Michael called the Gyotoku police but they never phoned back? Well that 30 year resident must be someone important. A misinformer, another criminal, a yak or what? These details are really ... well unbelievable.

  • 0

    LIBERTAS

    Given his recorded primping in the mirror in his elevator, I suggest looking in the gay prostitution bars in Subic first.

  • 0

    jwills79

    Thinking about LIBERTAS comments. I think if he is gay then it gives us a better explanation on why he killed her. Maybe he was obsessed with looking beautiful. Being friends with a woman he admired physically was a good way to learn more about being beautiful he thought. When he latter realize there were limitations on what he could do to his appearance he became frustrated. Envy->Jealousy->Anger->Hatred

    Should the info that is discussed in the article be easy to verify? I don't see why there is so much controversy.

  • 0

    ninjaboy

    Betting - yes, I agree. The Philippines is to the Japanese what the Costa del Crime is to the Brits. Anyone can disappear, get a new identity etc. This guys is already way beyond the reach of the keystones.

  • 0

    shouganaika

    I think if he is gay then it gives us a better explanation on why he killed her. Maybe he was obsessed with looking beautiful. Being friends with a woman he admired physically was a good way to learn more about being beautiful he thought. When he latter realize there were limitations on what he could do to his appearance he became frustrated. Envy->Jealousy->Anger->Hatred

    take a tea break Quincy

  • 0

    japantodayradio_com

    Ichihashi may be in Philippines<

    May be his organs are in some rich Japanese returning from China

  • 0

    GW

    way too many of you are mistaking this blurb for REAL reporting, its from a scandal rag folks.......

  • 0

    herefornow

    bushlover -- agree. This is just way too convenient. One obvious question is how did he get his passport to flee with/enter the Philippines? He ceratinly didn't have it on him when he fled barefoot? Also, wouldn't Japanese immigration records show that he left the country? No mention of that.

  • 0

    jwills79

    He may have already had a passport. He comes from a well-off family. I believe they are doctors. I have always suspected he was being helped by his family. They could have dropped off everything he needed.

    As far as red flagging his passport, you are giving the Japanese police too much credit. There wasn't an international and some may say even a real national search for him. He was easily forgotten which why the victims parents keep coming to raise awareness. Only foreigners are really scrutinized through customs. He just has to look like a typical Nihonjin and OK.

  • 0

    Beelzebub

    It's entirely possible Ichihashi has left the country. There are still quite a few Japanese Red Army radicals on the lam after being on INTERPOL's wanted list for more than 30 years.

  • 0

    Proffessor

    Nothing but speculation.

  • 0

    isthistheend

    As horrific as Ichihashi's crime remains, he is just one of 8 similarly long-time fugitives outside a typical J-Cop koban in China Town. Last night, I happened to take a look at the 8 mugs and had my stomach turned by each one, none of whom are forgettable, even though Ichihashi has to be the most distinguishable and the youngest. What a strange mug. Seeing as three of the Aum people still haven't been caught after 14 years makes you wonder. Also, I'm sure theirs no shortage of potential mugs to pin up. None of this is to take away with the need to capture these criminals, but it is quite despairing.

  • 0

    Altria

    Why did he come back to Japan?

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