Japanese authorities are hoping that the extradition of a Chinese man from Canada, approved just this December, may help shed light on an unsolved 20-year-old murder of three female supermarket employees in Tokyo. It is believed that the man has knowledge about who the killer is and possibly his present whereabouts.
The country was shocked back in 1995 when three female employees of a Tokyo suburb supermarket, a 47-year-old woman and two girls, aged 16 and 17, were shot in the head point-blank and died on the spot. Gun-related crimes, except for a few involving gangsters, are very rare in Japan where firearm possession is tightly controlled by the government. What made the case even more puzzling is that the killer did not steal any of the victims’ jewelry or the supermarket’s money that was in a locked safe in the office. Police speculated then that the motive may not have been robbery but a personal grudge against one of the victims. A yakuza member (executed in 2010 for drug trafficking) told the police back in 2009 that the Chinese man “may know something about the culprit” because he was able to describe the killings in great detail.
Identified as Liang He, the man, a native of Fujian province, left Japan in 2002 using a fake passport, with the identity of a Japanese man. He was able to get permanent residency in Canada. Tokyo police were able to trace him there in 2010 and demanded that Canadian authorities extradite him for a minor case, but so he will also be able to be questioned about the 1995 murders. A lower court in Canada approved his extradition in September of this year. The Tokyo police will be arresting him on false passport charges and the man’s lawyer wants Japanese authorities to prosecute him on these charges alone and to not deport him to China.
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