Last updated on February 13th, 2023 at 01:15 pm
Friday, investigating sources said that a guy accused of orchestrating a spate of thefts throughout Japan from the Philippines also reportedly committed fraud remotely from Thailand.
Yuki Watanabe, 38, and another suspected senior member of the organization, Tomonobu Kojima, 45, were deported to Japan from the Philippines this week and turned over to prosecutors on Friday. One of the robberies under investigation culminated in the January murder of a 90-year-old lady in Tokyo.
According to the sources, Watanabe, whose immigration record indicates he was in Thailand in 2017, worked with a colleague in Japan between August and December of that year to collect cash cards from individuals, especially the elderly, by stating someone had taken money from their bank accounts.
In December 2017, a group of individuals attempting to depart Japan for Thailand with around $274,000 in hidden cash were detained by police. According to the sources, it is suspected that the money was collected through the cash cards.
Later, Watanabe relocated his headquarters to the Philippines, but he was arrested in April 2021. Thursday, at the request of the Japanese authorities, he and Kojima were deported to Japan and detained for suspected theft linked to a scheme.
Kiyoto Imamura and Toshiya Fujita, both 38 years old, were deported from the Philippines and detained on theft-related charges on Tuesday.
According to the authorities, the organization is alleged to have scammed individuals of over 6 billion yen before switching to robberies.
The four suspects repatriated to Japan certainly include the individual or individuals believed to have used the aliases “Luffy” and “Kim” when the alleged offenses were perpetrated.