6,000 Cops Hunt "Model" Thief Who Escaped Jail In Japan

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Tokyo, Japan:  A Japanese minister apologised Tuesday over the escape of a “model” inmate who fled an open prison more than a week ago, as the number of police hunting him passed 6,000.

About 6,600 police officers are now engaged in a fruitless manhunt for 27-year-old Tatsuma Hirao, who was serving time for multiple thefts, according to officials.

The case is making headline news in Japan with TV channels picking over the manhunt in minute detail.

Hirao gave guards the slip on April 8, vanishing from the facility, an “open institution” where inmates can walk around freely.

Police have detected the fugitive’s fingerprints and several thefts have been reported since his escape but he remains on the lam.

The stolen items include socks, a mobile phone, a wallet, a pair of sandals and a car key, whose owner found a polite note — apparently from the fugitive — saying: “I’m borrowing your car but I’ll never damage it.”

The country’s justice minister felt the need to…

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