Fatal hit-and-run suspect escapes from hospital in Wakayama


A man who was arrested following a hit-and-run accident has escaped from a hospital in Tanabe, Wakayama Prefecture.

According to police, 43-year-old Kunihiko Yokotani allegedly hit and killed a 60-year-old man in Shirahama in August of last year. Yokotani fled the scene and was arrested in November. He complained of an illness and requested permission to be checked into a hospital for a medical examination, TV Asahi reported. He was granted permission for 48 hours from noon on Jan 23.

Police said that Yokotani was visited in hospital by his brother on Jan 25. In the early hours of the morning on Jan 26, Yokotani told a guard he was going outside to smoke. He is believed to have got away in his younger brother's car, which was waiting outside to pick him up, TV Asahi reported.

Police say a manhunt is currently underway.

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In an outside hospital and the escort didnt go with him when he went to smoke? That must be basic SOP even in Japan. Discipline the police/prison guard.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Idiots! SOP?? Not too sure but this SOB getting away so easily just is plain foolish! Fatal hit and run?? And now this darn idiot fool is on the run, hope this younger brother is also arrested too for helping him escape.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Both are idiots. They WILL be caught, and the embarrassed police will not treat them well.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The policeman was with him when he escaped in his brother's car but the policeman has no legal power to stop him, since his detention was suspended ( medical examination). That's the law.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

@Elbuda SOP = Standard Operating Procedure. @Crazyjoe Thanks for that, very interesting. In a previous life I did escorts of prisoners to outside hospitals and they were still deemed to be in custody. Seems like an invitation for him to make a break for it if his sentence has been temporarily suspended and his escort has no power of arrest.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hit and run...and run? One would have thought he was a flight risk, no?

Jokes aside, this is Japan and the people are pretty docile. The authorities don't over-react and that is a good thing. So one guy temporarily got away. Show me a land where it never happens.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

So the murderer was "ill" and taken to hospital. If a criminal suspect is so ill that they need to be taken to hospital there is no way they should be let outside to smoke with family members I mean COME ON. REALLY?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The policeman was there to raise the alarm if he fled, he did that. The murderers detention had been suspended, the policeman could see him fleeing but due to legal problems was unable to prevent this. Why bother sending him with an escort in the first place? If said escort is powerless to act. Also if the detention had been suspended it's not an escape...just a loss. Can see a rash of inmate illness coming on.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I always thought they had medical services inside prisons.?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

If Japan can employee blue suited men with a baton to stand all day at a construction site to guide one delivery truck into the property, it has to be able to have security to prevent escapes such as this.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

If I were conducting the investigation I think I would start by checking to see if perhaps the guards wallet had gotten a little thicker. Seems fishy to me.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

WOW!..... I thought Japan is one of the high tech country in the world. Haven't they heard of a gadget attached to a criminal whenever they are out of the prison for medical purposes so police can monitor his movements? This is absolutely police department stupidity.

@CrazyJoe.... "since his detention was suspended ( medical examination). That's the law." Another Japan's stupid law.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This story is a few days old. Watching it on Japanese TV news the strange thing was that they never showed a photo of Yokotani. He (and his brother) are almost certainly yakuza. Previously he was caught with speed. The police reported that someone saw the car yesterday in Kishiwada, Oska.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Oh, they've got the car. It's the black Mercedes here.

0 ( +0 / -0 )


I agree!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Goals Black Benz. Yep, yakuza all right.

My previous comment about checking the guard's wallet was meant to be sarcastic--but now it doesn't seem too far off. It would seem that somebody was paid to turn a blind eye.

Has Yokotani's photo been released to the press/public?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Electronic ankle bracelet should have been used on this guy, but the escort should be able to detain the guy trying to escape other wise whats the point in having an escort with him, ridiculous to say the least.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

haha, this reminds me of the time when the wanted AUM member hirata walked into police stations to give himself up and the cops turned him away. Got ourselves a man who hit, killed, and ran on our hands, but let's let him have a smoke unsupervised with his brother. What's the worst he's gonna do anyway? take a hit of his cig and then run? bahahahaha

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Cue the Benny Hill music and start searching keystones.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Question, if the suspect's detention was suspended for the medical examination, then isn't the headline false? If there's no detention in effect, you can't say "escapes from hospital". The guy just left the hospital without his police escort. What you COULD say is that he eluded police because once he left the hospital grounds, the "medical examination" suspension of detention was obviously terminated.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

he is in remand, no? and the police cannot do anything on people on remand? how odd. shouldn't those under remand be taken into custody and put in some sort of remand centre or prison? this is so strange. and while in the hospital, shouldn't they being handcuffed to the bed or something. they can even take a puff or two?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

He went out for a smoke? Has to be the only country (except maybe China- but they probably smoke on the ward) where patients can nip out for a smoke. Didn't they use to have smoking rooms INSIDE hospitals?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Ah, the Japanese police at their finest. Guess if you're going to kill someone and get away with it with HELP from the police this is the place. I've never heard of such stupidity in my life... aside from other situations in which the police allowed criminals to escape (Ichihashi, etc.) under their watch.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

He went out for a smoke? Has to be the only country (except maybe China- but they probably smoke on the ward) where patients can nip out for a smoke. Didn't they use to have smoking rooms INSIDE hospitals?

The hospital in my city (Manassas, Virginia, USA) prohibits smoking anywhere inside the buildings. Signs and ashtrays are posted about 50 feet from the entrances. By doing that it makes it real easy to detect people breaking the rules - just follow the stench of cigarette smoke. I laugh at the people who wave away their cigarette smoke with their hand as if that's going to make them or their room/office reek less.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I always thought they had medical services inside prisons.?

They usually do, but it seems the barber was on vacation during that time.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Incompetence, sheer incompetence ! The force needs a complete overhaul.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Finally today the police issued a photo of 'kaishain' Yokotani.

Not someone I would like to encounter on a dark night.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Goals, thanks for the link. Looks like he stuck his ciggie in the wrong way round.

Interesting to see that the reason the Police gave for chasing him was, wait for it, driving without a license.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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