More details of the crime emerge, but the question of “why” remains.

On 24 August, residents of the upscale area around Shirokane-takanawa Station were shocked when a sudden attack involving a substance believed to be sulfuric acid occurred at the station’s exit. The victim, a 22-year-old male, was splashed in the face with the highly corrosive chemical, some of which also came into contact with the leg of a 34-year-old female bystander.

The suddenness of the crime allowed the suspect to slip away unnoticed, except by the surveillance cameras posted at the exit. The assailant was later identified as 25-year-old Hirotaka Hanamori of neighboring Shizuoka Prefecture.

▼ News report showing the scene of the crime and surveillance images of Hanamori.

Media swarmed to his home and interviewed neighbors, many of whom gave the usual “he was a polite boy, who mostly kept to himself” description. It was reported that both his parents were medical workers who succumbed to diseases in the past ten years, during which time Hanamori also grew increasingly distant from other friends and family.

It was also revealed that Hanamori was his victim’s senpai in the same extra-curricular film club while they both attended a university in Okinawa Prefecture. However, no details on their exact relationship have been revealed yet.

This surprised many readers of the news, who had initially thought the attack was professional hit given the speed in which it was done and ritzy area it was done in.

“So it wasn’t a yakuza hitman?”
“I wonder if this was over a woman, or maybe they were in a relationship together.”
“Everyone jumped from ‘yakuza assassin’ theories to ‘gay lover’ theories really fast.”
“I should have known, a pro would never just wear one glove.”
“If this was a personal grudge, then why did he do it in such a public place and where everyone knows surveillance cameras are?”
“What kind of hitman uses acid anyway?”
“I want to know what kind of club these guys were involved in.”

All these questions and more may soon be answered though.

Immediately after the attack, Hanamori boarded a Shinkansen train in the direction of Shizuoka. However, police were able to follow his escape and on 28 August detained him in Okinawa Prefecture, nearly 2,000 kilometers (1,242miles) away. Hanamori’s destination being the same as his former university raises the possibility he may have been searching for another victim rather than simply hiding.

▼ The suspect managed to put a lot of distance between himself and the crime scene in only a few days.

It will take time for him to be transported back to Tokyo and interrogated for a clearer picture of what triggered this disturbing assault. However, this will be of little consolation to his victim, who is expected to require six months to recover from his injuries.

Source: Yomiuri Online, TBS News, Nikkan Sports, Itai News
Top image: Pakutaso
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!