Inside the cabin of a plane that departed Bangkok early Wednesday morning, Setsuko Yamabe, 62, was arrested over Japanese air space on charges of investment fraud. Upon arrival at Haneda Airport, the suspect, concealed her face from the assembled press corps with the hood of a gray sweatshirt, changed to a domestic flight bound for Kumamoto Prefecture.
In January, Kumamoto Prefectural Police obtained an arrest warrant for Yamabe. Yamabe and her accomplices are suspected of defrauding more than 50 persons, at least one of whom committed suicide, in fraudulently obtaining at least 700 million yen over the past few years.
In carrying out the ruse, she told the victims that she was involved in “bridge loans,” which are often used for short-term financing by large companies. She had claimed to pay the supposed investors interest of 25 percent for investments in which the principal was 100-percent guaranteed.
On March 30, Thai police arrested Yamabe at a gasoline station in the northeastern province of Ubon Ratchathani for immigration violations.
Yamabe had traveled into and out of Thailand at least 15 times. In announcing her arrest on April 5 in Bangkok, Thai police referred to her as “The Bridge Loan Queen.”