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Japanese fraud suspect repatriated from Thailand

TOKYO (TR) – Nara Prefectural Police have arrested a 38-year-old male Japanese national wanted on suspicion of fraud following his repatriation from Thailand, reports TV Asahi (Apr. 20).

On April 20, Kazunari Hashimoto, from Mie Prefecture, arrived at Haneda Airport on a flight from Bangkok. Nara police subsequently arrested Hashimoto for allegedly defrauding of 8 million yen from a 75-year-old woman in July, 2013.

“I really have no recollection [of the matter],” the suspect was quoted by police.

Hashimoto is believed to have been a member of a fraud ring operating in Japan. On March 29, police in Bangkok working off a tip from Nara police arrested Hashimoto at a residence in Bangkok for illegally overstaying his visa.

Kazunari Hashimoto (Twitter)

The fraud ring, which also operated in Shimane, Tottori and Kochi prefectures, included seven members. They are believed to have swindled four victims out of 28 million yen, police said previously.

In carrying out the ruse that targeted the woman in Nara, a member of the ring posed as an employee from the Japan Banker’s Association while collecting the funds.

In speaking with reporters in Bangkok after his initial arrest, Hashimoto apologized while adding that he was reflecting upon his actions. “I was forced to support the crime by an elder who is a member of the yakuza,” Hashimoto said.

Police have arrested five other members of the ring. The whereabouts of the seventh member are still sought.