Warrant out for mobster in pachinko kidnapping

Kyodo

Police have obtained an arrest warrant for a man with underworld connections who is suspected of helping to kidnap a pachinko parlor employee in Osaka Prefecture last week, officials said Friday.

Local police said the man is in his 30s, but did not reveal his identity.

Police suspect that three people were involved in the kidnapping of Shigemasa Nakao, 43, on Sept. 3 in Kishiwada, Osaka Prefecture. Nakao was released after a ransom of some 21 million yen was paid.

Kishiwada police are looking for the man and are trying to identity the two others involved.

Investigative sources said the man and his accomplices attacked Nakao around 1:40 a.m. on Sept. 3 just as Nakao drove into the parking space outside his apartment.

The kidnappers took Nakao away in their vehicle, and later had him make a phone call to the manager of the pachinko parlor and ask that a ransom be paid. During his captivity, Nakao made about 15 telephone calls to the manager, police said.

Around 7:40 a.m. the same day, the manager dropped a bag containing the ransom from an expressway overpass in the city of Izumisano to the kidnappers waiting below, they said.

Police have found the wanted man’s fingerprints in Nakao’s car, which was found at Kishiwada port, the sources said.

A powder-filled fire extinguisher had been set off in the car, apparently to cover the kidnappers’ tracks. But police later found the fingerprints of the wanted man on a fire-extinguisher floating in the sea nearby, they said.

The car was found on the edge of a pier, leading police to suspect the kidnappers tried in vain to sink the vehicle to destroy evidence, the sources said.