Tattoos give away fugitive Yakuza boss in Thailand

Wild body tattoos shared on Facebook reveal Japanese gangster's whereabouts to police in Thailand

Tattoos revealed on Yakuza boss.

Tattoos revealed on Yakuza boss. (By Associated Press)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- After evading capture for 15 years, a Japanese crime boss has been captured in Thailand after images of his distinctive tattoos went viral on Facebook, reported AP.

A Thai local spotted the 74-year-old fugitive Japanese gangster playing checkers shirtless at a park in Thailand and was so impressed with his vast collection of body tattoos that he posted photos of him on Facebook. In the post he wrote, : 'Uncle, you're my idol. When I grow up, will I look like you?" and it soon went viral with it being shared over 100,000 times until some users recognized the gangster's distinctive pattern of tattoos.

The man, identified as Shigeharu Shirai, is a high-ranking member of the Japanese mafia known as the Yakuza, and in addition to tattoos on his back and upper arms, the tip of his little finger gave away his status as a Japanese mobster. Based on the photographic evidence of his identity, Japanese authorities then requested that Thai police apprehend him.

Shirai had been implicated for the shooting death of the boss of a rival faction, Kazuhiko Otobe, in Japan, but had fled the county in 2003. Mie prefecture police have obtained a warrant for his arrest in connection with the 15-year-old case, reported Japan's Kyodo News.

He has not admitted to the murder, but according to Thai police spokesman, "The suspect has not confessed to murder but has admitted that the victim used to bully him."

Shirai must first face three charges of illegal entry before he is sent back to face the original charges he had managed to evade for some many years in Japan.

Thai police escorting Shirai. (AP photo)