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Tokyo cops: Messenger service suspected in ¥180 million in ‘it’s me’ scams

Takuya Hashizumi (left) and Shoya Shirakawa
Takuya Hashizumi (left) and Shoya Shirakawa

TOKYO (TR) – Tokyo Metropolitan Police have arrested the head of fraud group that used a motorcycle messenger service in swindling victims out of nearly 200 million yen, reports NHK (Mar. 9).

In October, Takuya Hashizumi, 30, allegedly swindled an elderly woman living in Sumida Wardo out of 3.2 million yen in cash. In a scam known as ore ore sagi, or “it’s me fraud,” the suspect had impersonated the woman’s son on the telephone and requested money.

In serving as the group’s leader, Hashizumi provided motorcycles via messenger service Triple B and mobile phones to facilitate the crimes, police said.

Hashizumi denies the charges, saying he “does not recall” the incident.

Police had previously arrested Shoya Shirakawa, the 24-year-old manager of Triple B, for allegedly participating in the attempted swindle of a woman, 83, by dispatching a motorcycle courier to her residence in Tokyo to collect one million yen in cash at the end of November.

The group is believed to have used similar means to swindle 30 victims out of a total of about 180 million yen.

In 2016, fraudsters utilizing messenger motorcycles defrauded victims out of a total of 830 million yen, a figure that is three times that of the year before.