Japan police search for suspect after headless man found in Hokkaido hotel, Latest World News - The New Paper

Japan police search for suspect after headless man found in Hokkaido hotel

Japanese police are looking for a person linked to the discovery of a headless male body in a love hotel in northern prefecture Hokkaido’s capital Sapporo.

An employee of Hotel Let’s in the city’s Susukino entertainment district alerted emergency services after finding the unclothed body in the bathroom of a second-floor room at around 3.15pm on Sunday, Japanese broadcaster TV Asahi reported.

The employee was checking on the guest as he had not checked out.

First responders determined the victim to have been decapitated by a knife, with his head missing. No personal belongings that could identify him were found.

An autopsy attributed the cause of death to haemorrhagic shock from heavy blood loss, with multiple fatal injuries inflicted on his body. Investigators said the man was likely to have been killed before he was beheaded.

He was estimated to be around 160-170cm tall and above 45 years old because of a smallpox vaccination scar on his arm. Smallpox vaccination in Japan was largely discontinued in 1976, according to medical journals, although it was approved by domestic regulators as protection against mpox in 2022.

He also had a surgical scar for appendicitis on his right abdomen.

Hotel security cameras captured a person wearing a large hat and dressed like a woman entering the hotel with the victim at around 10.30pm on Saturday, officials told Hokkaido Broadcasting Co (HBC) on Tuesday, without confirming the person’s gender or identity.

The person left the room alone more than three hours later after 2am on Sunday in different clothes and was seen carrying a large suitcase.

Investigations are ongoing to identify the victim as well as to locate the person who checked in to the hotel with him, with Hokkaido prefectural police treating the case as a suspected murder.

Investigators told HBC they suspect the person may have killed the man, then abandoned his body in the room by leaving the hotel with his head in tow.