His face can be seen on most-wanted posters at train stations and police departments across Japan. Yet when Makoto Hirata went to the Tokyo police headquarters on New Year’s Eve and said, “I am Makoto Hirata. I am turning myself in,” the officer on duty thought it was a prank and told him to go try somewhere else. And that was after Hirata reportedly called in to ask how a fugitive like himself—wanted as a member of the infamous Aum Shinrikyo cult that conducted nerve gas attacks in the mid-1990s—goes about surrendering to the police.
Despite the initial skepticism, Hirata was eventually taken into custody after 16 years on the run for his role in the kidnapping and murder of Kiyoshi Kariya, a Tokyo official investigating the cult in 1995. According to the Telegraph, Kariya was taken to the group’s compound near Mount Fuji and given a lethal dose of “truth serum” before his body was incinerated. Hirata admitted to being the driver for the kidnapping. But he’s reportedly refused to disclose anything about his fellow cultists still at large. At least now, if they turn themselves in, the police will likely be more ready to accept them.