TOKYO (TR) – Tokyo Metropolitan Police have arrested a 28-year-old man for allegedly setting fire to the baggage of a homeless man in Taito Ward, reports Fuji News Network (Dec. 25).
At around 1:00 a.m. on November 5, Ryuji Kawasaki, of no known occupation, alleged set fire to the baggage of the homeless man near Ueno Park.
Upon his arrest on suspicion of arson and causing property damage, Kawasaki admitted to the allegations. During questioning, he told police he used a lighter to start the fire.
Before the incident, Kawasaki bought the lighter and flammable liquid at a convenience store.
Afterward, the suspect alerted emergency services while posing as a person who happened across the blaze. “Money was stolen by a foreigner, and then a fire started nearby,” he reportedly said.
A fire crew arriving at the scene extinguished the blaze in about 5 minutes. A photograph provided by police shows metal racks, blankets and tarps atop burned debris.
At the time, the homeless man, who began living on the streets in the area about one year ago, was in another location. He found his burned belongings later that same morning.
“Well, I’m disappointed,” the homeless man was quoted by TBS News (Dec. 25). “I never thought [my belongings] would be set on fire. My sleeping bags, blankets, underwear and trousers — all the stuff I collected is gone.”
Police are aware of two other arson incidents that took place on the same area, including at a public toilet, on the same day and the evening before.
An examination of security camera footage by police appeared to show Kawasaki behind those incidents as well.
Note: This story was updated to add the quote by the suspect when he made the call to emergency services.