The suspect claims he’s innocent, despite being in possession of spray cans and bolt cutters.

A 27-year-old Australian man was arrested in Tokyo yesterday, in relation to an incident that occurred in 2018 when a subway train at a rail yard in the city’s Bunkyo Ward was found covered in graffiti.

According to police, the suspect, Paul Han, is believed to have trespassed into the Koishikawa Rail Yard at approximately 1 a.m. on 19 February last year with an as-yet-unknown individual, and spent 90 minutes scrawling large graffiti onto the sides of a Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line subway carriage.

Metropolitan Police Department investigators identified Han as a suspect from evidence that included security camera footage. Han, who was in the country as a tourist at the time, left the country a week after the incident, but was apprehended by police upon re-entering Japan at Narita International Airport on 3 April this year.

▼ This news report shows footage of Han being taken into custody by police at Narita Airport yesterday.

Upon his arrest, Han was found to be in possession of spray cans, paint markers, bolt cutters, a head torch, binoculars, and half-a-dozen GoPro cameras, leading police to believe that he was planning to spray more graffiti again in Japan.

Investigators say they secured location data from a rental car used by Han in Japan, which recorded trips to neighbouring Kanagawa Prefecture and Miyagi Prefecture, northeast of Tokyo. Police are currently investigating whether cases of graffiti in these areas might be connected to the suspect, and whether or not other foreign nationals were involved.

There have been 25 cases of similar graffiti reported in the Tokyo metropolitan area since January 2017, suggesting Han may be responsible for multiple incidents over the past two years.

He now faces charges of property damage, which comes with a maximum jail term of three years. Police say the suspect is denying any knowledge of the 2018 incident for which he’s currently being charged.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time for an Australian to be arrested for offences related to graffiti in Japan. Hopefully it’s the last, because, to be honest, incidents like this are giving Australians a bad name in Japan.

Sources: NHK, Mainichi Shimbun
Featured image: Twitter/@OonaMcGee
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