4 robbery suspects may be sent from Philippines to Japan next week

Kyodo News

Posted at Feb 02 2023 11:59 AM

TOKYO — Tokyo and Manila are working out details for the deportation, possibly next week, of four Japanese believed to be behind a string of robberies across Japan, investigative sources said Thursday.

The Japanese police have been requesting the transfer of the suspects from Manila, where they are being detained. The Philippine justice minister has expressed hope to "solve the problem" by Monday, ahead of the planned visit to Japan by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. starting Wednesday.

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla has also told reporters that the Philippines is seeking to deport all four suspects together.

The 4 likely include a person or persons thought to have masterminded the robberies under the names "Luffy" and "Kim." They are suspected of organizing a series of robberies in Japan that began last year, remotely coordinating the operation from the immigration facility using an encrypted messaging app.

Japan has sought their transfer after police obtained arrest warrants on suspicion of theft in connection with a scam targeting elderly people in Japan.

Among the 4, Yuki Watanabe was allegedly one of the leaders of the fraud group, which stole about 3.5 billion yen (P1.4 billion) in around 2,300 cases between November 2018 and June 2020, according to police.

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