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Police Launch Massive Search for Escaped Rape Suspect

July 31, 1992

TOKYO (AP) _ More than 6,000 police in riot gear searched a Tokyo suburb Friday for a man suspected of raping more than 40 women.

It was the second massive manhunt this month in the southwestern suburbs of Tokyo, where 3,000 police were mobilized July 8-9 to capture a murder suspect.

Police officials said the officers were searching for a 40-year-old man who grabbed a knife, shook off two police escorts and got out of his locked handcuffs Thursday while he was leaving a hospital after medical tests.

Nobuo Murata was arrested on June 24 for allegedly raping a high school girl in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, in May 1991. He is suspected in 43 rape cases in the Tokyo area, police said.

Local media reports said Murata allegedly gained entry to suburban homes by posing as a repairman or city housing official.