On July 13, the bodies of two women were found inside a pair of suitcases dumped a few meters dumped in Hadano City, Kanagawa Prefecture. The following day, Kanagawa Prefectural Police identified the bodies as belonging to Chinese sisters Chen Baolan (25) and Chen Baozhen (22), both of whom had been reported missing prior to the discovery.
The results of autopsies revealed the cause of death for both women to be strangulation.
According to Shukan Jitsuwa (Aug. 3), the story is a dark tale of two women who started in Japan as foreign-exchange students before getting wrapped up in the commercial sex trade.
Missing on July 7
In early July, a female acquaintance of the women became concerned after she was unable to reach them via social media on social media. On July 7, the acquaintance telephoned the management company of the building where the women lived in Yokohama’s Naka Ward after not finding them present during a visit.
Police arriving at the residence found no signs that the premises had been ransacked. An investigator tells the magazine that a male Japanese national, aged in his 30s — believed to be Iwasaki — was seen visiting the residence at 1:00 a.m. on July 6 in the building’s security camera footage. He then left at 10:00 a.m.
“The following day, he arrived again,” the investigator continues. “This time he exited carrying a suitcase. After a little while, he entered the room again carrying some plastic bags. He then exited again.”
Police subsequently used the GPS device inside his vehicle in locating the bodies, which were found dumped several meters off a road in a wooded area of Terayama area of Hadano.
Covered in plastic
The bodies of both women had been contorted to fit in the suitcases, which were fastened shut and wrapped in plastic.
“The results of autopsies revealed that both sisters died due to suffocation from strangulation as there were markings [around the neck] showing an exertion of strong force,” a reporter for a nationwide daily tells the magazine. “In the security camera footage, [the suspect] is seen with a rope in entering and existing the residence. At one point, he dropped it and picked up quickly in a panic.”
Exchange students in the sex trade
Baolan arrived in Japan as a foreign-exchange student in 2009. She graduated from a clothing design school in March. Meanwhile, her younger sister, who landed in Japan in 2012, was enrolled in a game software vocational school.
According the aforementioned reporter, both women made ends meet through work at a sex parlor, also located in Yokohama’s Naka Ward. “Baolan was registered at a so-called ‘take out club’ in Isezakicho,” says the reporter, referring to an establishment whereby the employees may be escorted off the premises to a hotel or residence. “Since Baozhen also worked there on occasion, they became known as the ‘beautiful Chinese sisters’ in the district.”
Isezakicho is known for foreign prostitutes. According to the magazine, the going price to take a woman off the premises at such a club is between 5,000 and 10,000 yen. “For sex, the rate is between 20,000 to 30,000 yen for 60 minutes. To stay over night with her, you are looking at 40,000 yen,” a reporter for an evening paper tells Shukan Jitsuwa. “The hotel charge is extra.”
Got to know the suspect 5 years ago
Iwasaki got to know Baolan via the club five years ago. With working at such an establishment being prohibited under immigration laws and taking into consideration the potential negative influence it may have on her sister, Baolan consulted with the suspect after her graduation in March. He suggested that they engage in a fake marriage.
“But considering the aforementioned information about Baozhen working up at the club, it seems that they both eventually took the same path,” the source says.
Police initially arrested Iwasaki for confinement. On July 21, he was accused of corpse abandonment.
Source: “Chugokujin bijin shimai shitai iki Yokohama tsuredashi kurabu de okita,” Shukan Jitsuwa (Aug. 3, pages 40-41)