TOKYO (TR) – Tokyo Metropolitan Police on Monday arrested nine of 36 Japanese male nationals suspected of participating in a fraud ring based in Manila, reports TBS News (Feb. 25).
According to Tokyo Metropolitan Police, Ryo Imaizumi, 27, and the eight other suspects are members of a fraud that likely swindled 1.5 billion yen from around 1,700 persons in Japan over the past two years.
The nine suspects, aged between 20 and 59, arrived at Narita International Airport on a flight from Manila at around 3:00 p.m.
Thus far, police have accused the nine suspects of swindling a woman, aged in her 60s and living in Shibuya Ward, out of five bank cards last November.
Accomplices in Japan
In carrying out the ruse, at least one of the suspects allegedly posed as a Ministry of Finance employee on the telephone in explaining to the woman that her bank account information had been used in a crime. Accomplices in Japan then collected the cards at her residence.
All of the suspects deny the allegations. “I came on a sightseeing tour and got wrapped up [in the ring],” one suspect said. Another said that he was “eating and drinking” at the headquarters when he was apprehended.
Police believe that the headquarters for the ring was an abandoned hotel in the outskirts of Manila. Last November, immigration officials raided the hotel. Tokyo police arrived in Manila the following month.
The remaining 27 Japanese nationals are also expected to be arrested in due course, police said.