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Little progress in gangster murder investigation

Date Posted: 2002-05-03

Despite setting up a special investigative team to resolve the shooting murder of an Osaka gangster group boss Kenji Hirota in Okinawa, police has reportedly made little progress in their investigation.

According to Okinawa Prefecture Police spokesman, investigators recovered the gun used in the shooting from the scene where the gunman had thrown the weapon. They also found the motorcycle in a near-by parking lot. It turned out to have been stolen in Kita-Kyushu. They also found the helmet that the man had worn. And a black T-shirt found in a toilet of a convenience store s also suspected belonging to the gunman.

The police say that Hirota has apparently traveled regularly between Osaka and Okinawa at least since 1988 when he became involved in a golf course construction plan in Kunigami Village. The course was never completed and the failed plan resulted in police investigation that led to the indictment of Hirota. For that he had an outstanding arrest warrant.

However, investigators believe that the failed golf course development project is not connected to his murder. Instead, they believe that his shooting was a revenge for the shooting death of the number two man of Yamaguchi Gumi, the nation?s largest criminal syndicate. That murder took place in 1997, and is widely believed to be the work of Nakano Gumi, the group that Hirota reportedly was the second in charge.

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