KOBE – A senior member of the nation’s largest organized crime syndicate was shot dead Wednesday in Hyogo Prefecture by a man armed with a submachine gun and a handgun amid a possible gang feud, police said.
Keiichi Furukawa, 59, a high-ranking yakuza of the Yamaguchi-gumi group, was pronounced dead at a hospital after being shot on a street in Amagasaki shortly after 5 p.m.
The suspected assailant fled by car, but police arrested him in the city of Kyoto about an hour after the shooting.
Hisanori Asahina, 52, is suspected of possessing a submachine gun and a handgun along with five live bullets when he was arrested. When police officers tried to question him after pulling over his vehicle, Asahina reportedly pointed a handgun at officers.
According to the police, Furukawa and Asahina, an associate of the Yamaguchi-gumi, knew each other. A witness told police that the two men were having drinks together at a pub near the crime scene.
The police believe the shooting is linked to ongoing strife between the Yamaguchi-gumi and a splinter group, and are investigating it as a murder case.
Furukawa was found lying on his back on the street, bleeding from his abdomen and face. About 10 cartridges were found at the crime scene.
In the feud between the Yamaguchi-gumi and the splinter group, the Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi, a member of the smaller faction was stabbed and seriously injured in Kobe in April, resulting in the arrests of two members of the Yamaguchi-gumi.
In October, two members of the splinter group were fatally shot in the apparent feud with the parent group.