There has been a 10 million yen (approx. $124,500) bounty for information that lead to police capturing Aum Shinrikyo fugitive Katsuya Takahashi, and since that’s exactly what happened just over a week ago, many are wondering who the reward money will go to. There are three candidates, two of which seem to have very strong claims to the bounty. But all of them contributed valuable information to the arrest of Takahashi, who was wanted for his involvement in the religious cult’s 1995 sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway system.
The two men who have the stronger claims are the one who notified police that 54 year old Katsuya Takahashi had entered a manga cafe in Tokyo, and a male employee at the cafe who called the police after seeing the same man. Early in the morning of June 15th, the day Takahashi was caught, a man in his 50s called the police in Tokyo’s Ota Ward and said that a man who resembled Takahashi went into a nearby cafe two days before. Police went to the cafe later in the day and the staff identified the man and said he was in the cafe at that time. The cafe employee pointed the man out and said the officers should check his identity. Police believe if that these two people hadn’t helped, Takahashi could have escaped once more.
On the run for the last 17 years, Takahashi had been hiding out Kawasaki for some years. He fled on June 4th, once he learned that police had arrested the only other Aum Shinrikyo fugitive, Naoko Kikuchi, the day before. The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department received over 1,700 leads in that 10 day span before his arrest. The reward money can be divided among those who contributed definitive information, but the police haven’t determined how it will be split yet. They are also now considering whether a bounty will be paid to the person who proved information about Naoko Kikuchi, but it is understood that the informant may have been related to the man who was harboring the fugitive.