MPD extends rewards for info on Aum fugitives

Yomiuri Shimbun/October 21, 2002

As the number of tips to police on the three members of the Aum Supreme Truth cult on the nationwide police wanted list has declined, the Metropolitan Police Department has announced it will continue to offer 6 million yen in reward money for information leading to the arrests of the three for another year.

The three members on whom information is sought are Makoto Hirata, 37, Katsuya Takahashi, 44, and Naoko Kikuchi, 30.

The rewards for information leading to the arrests of the suspects were first offered in October 1999 by a group of former MPD officials.

According to the MPD, 144 tips were sent in by mail and fax on a special form to qualify for the reward by 2001. However, only one person has sent in such a form this year.

Phone calls and e-mails brought in another 1,349 tips in the first year the rewards were offered. This year, 223 tips were sent in by September, none of which was specific enough to investigate.

The victims' families have become concerned that the Aum-related incidents may have been forgotten.

According to the MPD, Kikuchi and Takahashi remained in hiding in Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture, until November 1996. However, their whereabouts have been unknown since then.

Hirata was spotted meeting with another Aum member, Yasuo Hayashi, 44, in August 1995 in Nagoya.

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