An official working in Japan's national security apparatus is worried about a certain Chinese criminal he refers to as "Mr X."
"He received the death sentence in China, but managed to escape," the unnamed official tells Shukan Taishu (Sept 25). "He's a professional sniper who has sneaked into Japan."
Such a thing is possible? Surely nothing like it has ever happened before.
"We get the feeling that foreign hitmen do enter the country, actually fairly often," he continues, explaining that among the advanced economies, Japan is one of the easiest countries for such individuals to gain entry, and is lax about tracking their presence once here.
"Among them, Chinese are believed to be the most numerous. And they've already penetrated Japan's underworld," the source adds. "Once they make it in, the majority are assisted by their tong bao (compatriots) and kept hidden. A lot of these people are involved in illegal activities themselves, such as drug sales, prostitution and so on."
What's really scary, according to the aforementioned source, is the hitmen are willing to work cheap -- sometimes even for nothing. He cites the unsolved case of the 2013 Kyoto murder of the Gyoza no Osama restaurant chain, which some media reported was perpetrated by a Chinese hitman.
Some have even speculated the killer was a Chinese female.
But let's turn back to assassin "Mr X." Could he have actually manage to slip into Japan so easily? Let alone escape a Chinese prison while awaiting execution?
"It's been said that Mr X had been arrested in China on suspicion of selling stimulant drugs and murder, and sentenced to death," relates a source who speaks to the reporter on the promise of anonymity. "He appears to be in his early 40s, and at first glance looks quite ordinary. But from the expression in his eyes, you can tell he's different."
The government source says that X is believed to have worked for an organized crime gang in Dalian, Liaoning Province, which is a transfer point for moving stimulants from North Korea both around mainland China as well as to Japan. Adjacent to a local hotel in Dalian is a building said to house numerous dummy companies set up by local gangs in cooperation with Japanese yakuza.
The story goes that X, who had appealed his death sentence, was in the process of being transferred back to prison when the vehicle carrying him stopped in front of a building and as the guards pretended to look the other way, he made his escape -- something that sounds more like a ruse by a South American drug lord than a criminal in China.
Traveling on a borrowed passport of another Chinese, he is believed to have stuck on films containing that person's fingerprints to trick the scanner at the automatic gate at Narita airport immigration.
Apparently Chinese and South Korean bar hostesses who have been deported have found a means of reentry to Japan using the same trick.
Currently X said to be camping out in a rural city with a fellow Chinese who operates a sex business there. His long-term goal is to get into the U.S. and start up his own business, but to do that, he'll need money. Lots of money.
And Shukan Taishu believes he's willing to kill to get it.
Obviously, entering the U.S. on an international flight is likely to be impossible. But look at those cruise ships constantly playing the seas between Shanghai and Fukuoka.
"Those ships dock at Hakata harbor for 10 hours or so, and since it is assumed that people just want to disembark, shop and then return to the ship, they can do it with a simple landing permit. The checks are minimal," says the aforementioned security agency source. "It's common for some passengers to slip through the net."
"What's scary is that when word gets around about leaks in the system that criminals can exploit, that opens it up to other nationalities, such as mercenaries who have fled the battlefields in Syria in the wake of the defeats of the Islamic State," he cautions. And such individuals, he warns Shukan Taishu readers, might just as easily be drawn toward political assassinations as they are to organized crime.© Japan Today