On Friday morning at 9:15 AM, Tokyo police caught and apprehended 54 year old Katsuya Takahashi, the last remaining Aum Shinrikyo fugitive, at a manga cafe in Tokyo’s Ota Ward. He his currently being held at a Kamata police station, and officials have confirmed they are certain it is Takahashi. Before last week, the last time he was seen by investigators was in 1996, and he has been sought after ever since for his involvement in the cult’s attack on the Tokyo subway system with sarin gas in 1995.
After Aum Shinrikyo cult member Naoko Kikuchi was arrested on June 3rd, she gave a detailed account to police investigators about her 17 years on the run. This included details about time spent living with Katsuya Takahashi and sending him money for support. He was successfully tracked to his hometown of Kawasaki where he was living in a dormitory for the construction company he worked for, and using the alias name Shinya Sakurai. Police raided the hideout on the afternoon of June 4th, but Takahashi had been gone for hours already.
The fugitive was captured on local security cameras within a short period of time before fleeing, each time wearing a different set of clothes. He went into a bank nearby his workplace and emptied his accounts, withdrawing 2.38 million yen (just under $30,000). Takahashi quickly disappeared once more from that point, making sure to turn off and abandon his cell phone. Some of the last security camera footage from that time shows him getting into a taxi at the JR Kawasaki Station. Police believe he was very careful to avoid methods of transportation that were abundant with cameras, instead using buses and taxis to flee.
After the arrest of both Naoko Kikuchi and Katsuya Takahashi, all members of the Aum Shinrikyo religious cult have been apprehended. Kikuchi and Takahashi were both wanted on charges of murder and attempted murder for their participation in the group’s use of toxic sarin nerve gas in Tokyo subway attack that resulted in 13 deaths and over 6,000 injuries. Since then, nearly 200 members of the cult have been tried and convicted for their involvement in the attack on the subway system, as well as dozens of other crimes. Aum leader Shoko Asahara, along with 12 other followers, still remain on death row to this day.