Top cult scientist killed

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The Independent Online
A top member of Aum Shinri Kyo, the religious group suspected of the gas attack on the Tokyo subway, died last night after being stabbed outside the cult's headquarters in central Tokyo in front of a large crowd of reporters and cameramen staking out the building.

Hideo Murai, 36, the cult's so-called science and technology minister, was knifed in the arm and torso by Hiroyuki Jo, a 29-year-old right- wing activist said to be of Korean extraction, who was arrested immediately by police watching the building.

As the cult's chief scientist, Mr Murai, an astrophysicist, was suspected of manufacturing the sarin nerve gas that killed 12 people and injured 5,500 others on 20 March. His arrest had been expected soon.

Investigators searching for another Aum leader announced a grisly discovery over the weekend. Ten scraps of skin and bone were found in a cottage in central Japan, apparently belonging to Takeshi Matsumoto, a cult member suspected of kidnapping a Tokyo man. The fingerprints were found on the van used in the abduction, and police suspect that Mr Matsumoto's fingertips were sliced off to prevent identification. He is also thought to have undergone a facelift.

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