Japanese hostage crisis sparked by headhunting

Construction company owner upset after contractor lured some of his employees away

Armed hostage takings are, unfortunately, relatively common. The reasons are varied — crime, political or religious beliefs are usually at the root. But now you can add headhunting to that list following a bizarre incident in Japan.

The owner of a construction company, bitter that a contractor had lured away employees from his business, took a man hostage and kept police at bay during a 32-hour standoff with police in Mishima, Japan.

Fumio Motohashi, 51, demanded several times during the standoff to meet people from construction firms he had dealt with, including the contractor who was sniping employees from his firm.

Motohashi was forced to close his own construction firm at the end of November and was reportedly having serious financial problems. The hostage ordeal began when Motohashi, armed with a handgun, broke into the office of the construction company he received most of his work from and took four hostages. Three of the victims managed to escape about 90 minutes later.

He never intended to hurt the hostages, he said, but had different plans for the contractor who had headhunted his staff.

“I intended to kill an employee of the contractor,” is what Motohashi told police, according to the Mainichi Daily News.

The last hostage was released safe when the crisis ended peacefully. Motohashi was later charged in the killing of a business associate, who was shot in the head immediately before the hostage taking.

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