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The BBC's Charles Scanlon
"He was dubbed the killing machine"
 real 28k

Thursday, 29 June, 2000, 10:27 GMT 11:27 UK
Gas attacker sentenced to death
Rescue workers
Thousands were injured in the 1995 subway attack
A second member of the Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult in Japan has been sentenced to death for his part in the 1995 gas attack on the Tokyo subway.

Yasuo Hayashi was one of the cult members directly involved in releasing deadly Sarin gas into the crowded subway.

Hayashi
Hayashi became known in the Japanese media as Aum's "killing machine"
He carried three plastic bags containing liquid Sarin onto the train in the morning rush hour and then punctured them with the sharpened tip of an umbrella before running off.

Eight people were killed and hundreds of others were injured. Another four died in simultaneous attacks by cult members elsewhere on the subway system.

Sentencing him, Judge Kiyoshi Kimura said Hayashi had "an extremely grave responsibility as an executor of the sect's organised crimes and cannot escape capital punishment".

Convicted

Rescue workers
Rescue workers had to wear full chemical protection suits
In total at least 5,000 people were injured and many are still suffering from the after-effects.

Hayashi was also convicted of taking part in a Sarin attack the previous year in the city of Matsumoto to the west of Tokyo, in which seven people were killed.

Fourteen cult members have been indicted on various degrees of involvement in the attack. Four others are currently awaiting sentences.

In his defence, Hayashi's lawyers said he had been acting on the orders of the cult's leader, Shoko Asahara.

He is still on trial for allegedly directing the gas attacks, and some legal experts say the case may last as long as 15 years for a final verdict to be reached.

Aum apology

Shoko Asahara
Shoko Asahara: Trial could last for many more years
The group, which apologised to the victims and admitted its involvement for the first time in December last year, has been trying to distance itself from the past.

It has changed its name to Aleph, renounced Shoko Asahara as the guru and said it would close down its computer companies which earned it millions of dollars.

In March, on the fifth anniversary of the attack, the cult issued its first formal apology for the attacks.

Last month, however, police found detailed instructions for making nerve gas in a car owned by the cult, leading officials to suspect the group may have been planning to resume production of the poison.

According to recent reports in the Japanese media, the cult is now trying to revive itself with a drive to recruit new members.

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See also:

20 Mar 00 | Asia-Pacific
Cult apologises for death gas attack
01 Mar 00 | Asia-Pacific
Japan's computers hit by cult fears
31 Jan 00 | Asia-Pacific
Stricter surveillance for Japanese cult
26 Dec 98 | Asia-Pacific
Doomsday cult revival
18 Jan 00 | Asia-Pacific
Aum cult blames leader for gas attack
29 Jan 00 | Asia-Pacific
Japanese cult 'to compensate' victims
01 Oct 98 | World
Sarin uncovered
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