Escaped convict caught in Hiroshima

Kyodo

Police recaptured a Chinese fugitive Friday, two days after he escaped from Hiroshima Prison dressed only in his underwear.

Li Guolin, 40, fled Wednesday by scaling a 5-meter prison fence that was undergoing repair work. The National Police Agency had placed Li on a special wanted list.

“We will review (the prison’s management system) to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura told a news conference soon after Li was apprehended.

He has served about 3½ years in Hiroshima Prison after his conviction for attempted murder and theft.

The police recaptured Li after an undercover officer spotted him crossing a street near an elementary school in Nishi Ward, Hiroshima, only 2 km from the prison.

After the officer reported the sighting, 10 police cars and more than 30 policemen swooped in to seize him.

After he was apprehended, he handed police a fruit knife he was carrying and was quoted as telling them in Japanese: “I’ll go back to prison. I’m tired. I didn’t eat anything.”

At the time of his arrest he had only ¥10 on him and was wearing a black knitted cap and white shoes, the police said.

They believe he stole clothing and other items from a private residence 1 km from the prison Thursday.

An analysis of saliva from a beer can found in the residence matched Li’s DNA.

He also appears to have stolen a large black down jacket, training shirts, a black hat, face masks, a backpack and daily necessities such as toothpaste, the police said, adding cash and a bicycle at the residence were not stolen.

The police deployed about 500 officers to hunt for Li.

The Okayama District Court sentenced him to 23 years for firing a gun at a police officer during a home burglary in 2005.