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Hangure leader suspected in pair of store robberies

HYOGO (TR) – Police have arrested the leader of a delinquent group who is suspected in a pair of store robberies earlier this year, reports NHK (June 23).

At around 7:50 p.m. on January 7, a male perpetrator burst into a pawnshop near JR Motomachi Station in Kobe City, Hyogo Prefecture and sprayed a male employee with an unspecified substance.

After breaking at least one glass display case, the perpetrator took six items, including a Rolex wristwatch, valued at around 6.3 million yen. He then fled inside a vehicle driven by another person.

According to Hyogo Prefectural Police, Rei Fujimoto, the leader of group 89, a 19-year-old boy, and a third male suspect, 21, worked together to carry out the crime.

Upon his arrest on June 23, Fujimoto denied the allegations. Meanwhile, the boy admitted to the charges.

Rei Fujimoto (Twitter)

Osaka Prefectural Police first arrested the trio over a similar incident at a wristwatch store the Minami area of Osaka City on January 15.

Fujimoto is believed to have ordered the boy to carry out the actual robberies and the third suspect to drive the getaway car.

All the watches taken are believed to have been sold. Police arrested another 21-year-old person for involvement in those sales.

The suspects surfaced as persons of interest in the Kobe case after an examination of security camera footage.

89 is a criminal group dubbed hangure, an amalgamation of han (half) and gureru (to be delinquent). The name is pronounced “hagu,” which comes from the pronunciation of 8 (hachi) and 9 (kyu).