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Japan police: Yakuza likely participated in nationwide ATM heist

Police last week arrested Kenji Obata for the alleged theft of cash from ATMs last month
Police last week arrested Kenji Obata for the alleged theft of cash from ATMs last month

TOKYO (TR) – With apprehensions continuing over last month’s quick-strike theft of nearly two billion yen from ATMs nationwide, investigative sources revealed on Sunday that a criminal syndicate likely participated, reports the Yomiuri Shimbun (June 19).

On May 15, a vehicle belonging to a member of the Yamaguchi-gumi was seen near a convenience store parking lot in Fukuoka Prefecture on surveillance camera footage. Police are now attempting to locate the persons inside the vehicle.

That day, a gang of thieves that used forged credit cards with data leaked from a bank in South Africa to steal approximately 1.86 billion yen from ATMs in 2.5 hours.

The gang targeted more than 1,400 ATMs in convenience stores in 17 administrative districts, including Tokyo and the prefectures of Kanagawa, Aichi, Osaka and Fukuoka.

In Fukuoka, more than 100 convenience store ATMs were targeted with the losses totaling around 150 million yen.

Apprehensions ongoing

The apprehension of suspects in the case is ongoing. Last week, police arrested Gen Asano, a 31-year-old company employee from Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward,  for allegedly using a forged card to withdraw 500,000 yen from convenience store ATMs in Fujisawa City, Kanagawa, reports TBS News (June 16).

Also last week, police arrested Kenji Obata, 33, and two other persons for allegedly withdrawing three million yen from ATMs in Hachioji City, Tokyo, according to TBS News (June 17).

Police have made at least five other arrests in the case.