Two teenage boys arrested for allegedly burning homeless man to death

Two teenage boys were arrested Thursday for allegedly burning a homeless man to death in western Japan .

Makoto Amazutsumi, 60, died last October after apparently being hit by a firebomb under the bridge where he lived next to a river in the city of Himeji , said a prefectural (state) police official who identified himself only as Furuta.

Two suspects, a 15-year-old middle school student and an 18-year-old high school student, were arrested Thursday on suspicion of murder, Furuta said. He declined to give their names.

Kyodo News agency said two other 16-year-old boys were also wanted in connection with the killing, but Furuta said he couldn't comment on other details of the case because the investigation was ongoing.

The four boys are believed to have repeatedly abused homeless people since last summer, Kyodo reported, citing police officials it didn't identify. Amazutsumi had a leg disability making it difficult for him to evade the attacks, Kyodo said.

Though violent crime is relatively rare in Japan , several high-profile cases prompted the government in 2000 to lower the age at which juveniles can be prosecuted as criminals to 14 from 16.

A 2004 murder case, in which an 11-year-old girl killed a sixth-grade classmate with a box cutter after a spat over the Internet, sent shock waves throughout the country, reports the AP.


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