National / Crime & Legal

Osaka fugitive apparently fled police station 30 minutes after meeting with lawyer

Kyodo

Footage of a man believed to be a rape suspect who escaped from an Osaka Prefecture police station earlier this week was captured by a security camera outside the facility about 30 minutes after he met with his lawyer there, investigative sources said Friday.

Junya Hida, 30, disappeared from Tondabayashi police station in the suburbs of Osaka after his 30-minute meeting with the lawyer through 8 p.m. Sunday. A roadside security camera, installed on the south side of the station, showed a man matching his appearance and wearing similar clothing at the time walking east at around 8:30 p.m.

Hida has been indicted on charges of rape and theft as well as robbery resulting in injury. He was served a fresh arrest warrant last week on a charge of attempted rape.

Hida is believed to have escaped by kicking down the acrylic partition in the meeting room and leaving through the same entrance the lawyer had used. A police officer found the meeting room empty at around 9:45 p.m.

At the time, two police officers were placed at the detention cell on the second floor of the police station, but no one was in the room next to the meeting room, as is usual during the night and on weekends.

According to the sources, a series of purse snatchings have been reported since Monday in the vicinity in the city of Habikino as well as southern parts of the city of Osaka.

Before becoming a fugitive, Hida was also indicted over similar night-time snatchings in the cities of Osaka, Yao and elsewhere.

The police suspect Hida has been stealing money while on the run and are continuing a manhunt with some 3,000 personnel.