• Kyodo

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A 24-year-old Buddhist monk, apparently the victim of a gang attack, died Monday night after being found beaten unconscious on a road in the town of Kaisei, Kanagawa Prefecture, police said Tuesday.

Shisho Okamoto of Minamiashigara was found bleeding from the head by a passerby at about 10:40 p.m. on a stretch of prefectural road located about 2 km from an interchange of the Tomei Expressway, the police said.

Okamoto, a monk at Hofuku temple, was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead, the police said, adding that his head appeared to have been struck by a club.

The police said they suspect the involvement of a group of hot-rodders seen fleeing the scene in cars and about 10 motorcycles shortly before Okamoto was found.

According to police, Okamoto was on his way to see his fiancee after delivering vegetables grown at his temple to a restaurant he regularly visits.

His car was found near the site.

Nearby residents say hot-rodders often stop by the suspected murder site, which is located in an area with vacant lots.

A 27-year-old automobile sales clerk working nearby said hot-rodders who usually ride by the area once on Monday night drove back and forth several times.

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