Asia

Japan police deploy to hunt last Aum Shinrikyo fugitive

In this undated photo released by Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department Wednesday, June 6, 2012 - Katsuya Takahashi,
Image caption Katsuya Takahashi has been on the run since 1995

Thousands of Japanese police officers are being mobilised to hunt for the last fugitive from the doomsday cult responsible for the deadly 1995 gas attacks on the Tokyo subway.

Officers have been handing out new photographs of the suspect, Katsuya Takahashi, who reportedly fled his home shortly before it was raided on Monday.

He has been on the run since the sarin gas attacks by the Aum Shinrikyo cult.

Another suspect, Naoko Kikuchi, was reportedly arrested last Sunday.

Twelve people died in the 1995 Tokyo attacks.

Hundreds of others were injured when the cult released sarin nerve gas on several trains during rush hour.

On New Year's Eve another former member of Aum Shinrikyo, Makoto Hirata, turned himself in to police after nearly 17 years on the run.

Nearly 200 Aum Shinrikyo members have been convicted in connection with the sarin attack and other crimes. Thirteen are awaiting execution.

Aum Shinrikyo began as a spiritual group mixing Hindu and Buddhist beliefs in the 1980s, but developed into a paranoid cult obsessed with Armageddon.

Cult leader Shoko Asahara is among those on death row.

Aum Shinrikyo reinvented itself as the Aleph group, which continues to operate as a spiritual group.

More on this story