Raid on leftist lair yields police radio recordings

Police confiscated several thousand recordings April 10, many including conversations between investigators, during a search of a hideout of the ultra-leftist Kakumaru-ha (Revolutionary Marxist Faction).

Police suspect high-powered receivers found at the hideout in Urayasu, Chiba Prefecture, were used to eavesdrop on their radio conversations. The Metropolitan Police Department’s Public Security Bureau confiscated not only the tapes but also the receivers and documents. The items filled about 80 cardboard boxes.

A two-day search was started Thursday morning in connection with the leak of prosecution documents on a Kobe teenager who killed two schoolchildren last year. Police put six Kakumaru-ha members on a nationwide wanted list Tuesday on suspicion of stealing copies of prosecution depositions on the 15-year-old boy from a Hyogo prefectural hospital in Kobe. A doctor who conducted psychiatric tests on the boy works at the hospital.

Eight women were present when police conducted the search of the hideout — a pair of apartments rented by Kakumaru-ha at Kitazakae, Urayasu. Police suspect they are Kakumaru-ha members engaged in eavesdropping on police radio conversations, and that the site was the base of such operations.

The group may have been able to decode the digital radio transmissions, which police claimed were secure. The discovery will probably force law enforcement authorities to take drastic countermeasures in the near future, investigative sources said.

Public security officials of the MPD suspect that each time it changed the mode of the digital transmission, Kakumaru-ha members were still able to listen in to the police conversations. Members of the group admitted in a news conference Thursday in Tokyo that it has eavesdropped on police conversations, calling the raid “unlawful” and saying listening in on police is “necessary to protect the organization.”

Kakumaru-ha members also said documents police confiscated last January from another hideout, in Tokyo’s Nerima Ward, included records of MPD conversations about them tailing a former senior policeman, Toshiyuki Kosugi, 32. Kosugi, a former Aum Shinrikyo member, had confessed to being the triggerman in the 1995 ambush of then National Police Agency chief Takaji Kunimatsu, who was seriously wounded. Kosugi was never charged in the attack after police failed to find the pistol he claimed to have used, which he said he threw into the Kanda River.