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Vietnamese fugitive apprehended in Saitama had sought refugee status

Nguyen Van Hai
Nguyen Van Hai was captured in a convenience store parking lot in Saitama Prefecture on Friday night (TBS News)

SAITAMA (TR) – A male Vietnamese national apprehended in Saitama Prefecture after more than one day on the run had applied for refugee status, reports NHK (Sept. 2).

At 11:20 p.m. on Friday, police found Nguyen Van Hai, 31, in a convenience store parking lot in Kumagaya City, Saitama. Upon his apprehension, the suspect was found with 120,000 yen in cash and a smartphone.

“Since I had overstayed my visa and was driving without a license, I got scared and fled,” the suspect told police.

According to police, Nguyen arrived in Japan as a foreign-exchange student four years ago. However, two years later he was accused of overstaying his visa and ordered to leave the country.

After the suspect applied for refugee status, he was released on a temporary basis. But he did not appear at the Immigration Bureau as he had been instructed, police said.

Bit an officer on the arm

Nguyen evaded custody on Thursday. At just after 11:00 a.m., Gunma Prefectural Police apprehended a man later identified as Nguyen on suspicion of interfering with the duties of a public servant in the town of Oizumi, Gunma Prefecture. However, Nguyen fled the scene with one of his wrists handcuffed after biting an officer in the arm.

“I admit resisting,” the suspect said, “but I don’t recall biting anyone.”


According to Fuji News Network (Sept. 2), police located Nguyen on Friday after he communicated with a female acquaintance via a Facebook telephone feature. “I want to surrender, but I am scared,” the suspect told his friend. After she tried to persuade him to give up, he revealed his location.

Police are now investigating whether Nguyen received any assistance during his time on the run.