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Police launch coordinated patrols at Osaka hotels in hunt for escaped rape suspect

A life-size poster of Junya Hida is seen at left as a Tondabayashi Police Station officer hands out pamphlets asking for information on the escaped rape suspect, on Sept. 11, 2018. (Mainichi)

OSAKA -- Police carried out coordinated visits to hotels and other locations across western Japan's Osaka Prefecture on Sept. 11 in their search for escaped rape and robbery suspect Junya Hida.

Hida, 30, escaped from the Osaka Prefectural Police's Tondabayashi Police Station after an Aug. 12 meeting with his attorney, and officers launched the simultaneous Sept. 11 visits believing the suspect may be lying low in the prefecture. Police have also put up large wanted posters at about 10 locations within Osaka Prefecture including major train stations, and posted digital versions on social media, in hopes the public can provide useful information leading to Hida's recapture almost a month after his escape.

Fourteen investigators searched hotels and internet cafes in the city of Osaka's Abeno Ward from 10 a.m. on Sept. 11. The officers distributed pamphlets with Hida's physical description to employees at the businesses and told them police are hoping to catch the suspect soon.

Officers also put up a life-size, 163-centimeter-tall poster of Hida at Kintetsu Railway Co.'s Tondabayashi Station in Tondabayashi, Osaka Prefecture, slightly after 9 a.m. on the same day.

"It's scary that he (Hida) is still on the loose," one 17-year-old high school girl at the station commented. "I'm going to keep my door closed tight."

The posters have also been put up at JR Osaka Station and Kintetsu Osaka-Namba Station, among other major transport hubs, and posted to social media platforms including Twitter, LINE, and Instagram. Police have also set up a toll-free tip hotline at 0120-224-110, and are asking for anyone with information on the case to call in.

(Japanese original by Yuta Shibayama and Akihiko Tsuchida, Osaka City News Department)

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