TOKYO (TR) – Tokyo Metropolitan Police have arrested three Chinese nationals believe to be members of the so-called “Pink Panda” criminal group in the theft of a ring valued at nearly three million yen at an exposition in Koto Ward last year, reports TBS News (Jan. 24).
Between 11:30 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. on January 20, Yang Kuaikai, 37, and two other Chinese nationals allegedly stole a diamond ring valued at around 2.8 million yen from a dealer at the International Jewelry Tokyo show at Tokyo Big Sight.
All of the suspects, who have been charged with theft, deny the charges. “I attended the event, but I did not steal a ring,” Yang is quoted by TV Asahi (Jan. 24).
The trio is also under investigation in the theft of a pearl necklace valued at 14.5 million yen, reports Nikkan Sports (Jan. 25).
Prior to the theft of the ring, the suspects requested that an employee at the booth show them the ring. While the employee was distracted by a request to see another item, the theft took place.
The suspects, who were spotted committing the crime in surveillance camera footage, fled Japan on the same day. However, they were arrested on Monday after they returned for this year’s show, which was under intensified patrols by police.
The Pink Panda gang, comprised of Chinese nationals, is known for repeatedly targeting shops in Japan and Europe. Members of the group typically steal valuable pieces of jewelry after distracting staff members.