Cult search heats up

PUBLISHED : Friday, 31 May, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 31 May, 1996, 12:00am

Japanese police, desperately seeking six fugitive members of the Aum Shinri Kyo doomsday cult, have resorted to a novel method - printing the suspects' photographs on free, disposable cigarette lighters.

Police in Kanagawa prefecture, south of Tokyo, are giving out 60,000 'mug shot' lighters at 51 police stations this week, police said.

The names and faces of the six, already familiar to most Tokyo-area commuters because of numerous posters, now come three-a-side on the yellow, plastic lighters. A free 24-hour police number is printed in red.

The six members of the cult are suspected of being involved in the nerve-gas attack on the Tokyo subway last year that killed 11 people and injured 5,500.

'We thought lighters would be a handy item to help people remember the faces,' a Kanagawa police spokesman said. 'The search is a nationwide affair and I think each prefecture is coming up with its own ideas to prevent the public from forgetting the incident.'