DOJ: Suspected Japanese robbery boss 'Luffy' to be deported Feb. 8

Johnson Manabat, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 07 2023 08:20 PM

Philippine and Japanese authorities escort one of two Japanese fugitives Kiyoto Imamura and Toshiya Fujita at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1 in Pasay City on Tuesday. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — Alleged Japanese robbery ringleader Yuki Watanabe, who authorities in Tokyo believe to be “Luffy,” is set to be deported on Wednesday evening, Feb. 8, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said Tuesday.

This, after a Pasay regional trial court dismissed the violence against women and children charges filed against Watanabe and fellow Japanese robbery suspect Tomonobu Saito, paving the way for their deportation.

“There’s no more legal impediment to the deportation of the two Japanese fugitives,” Remulla said.

“Today is a good day for us because the judge, the Honorable Christian Castañeda, gave the order of dismissal, so tomorrow, ‘Luffy’ will be home in Japan,” he added.

Seven officers of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police are expected to escort Watanabe and Saito, who were still detained at the Bureau of Immigration’s (BI) warden facility at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.

Remulla also said he was confident that no one from the legal team of the Japanese fugitives would file a motion for reconsideration on the Pasay court’s dismissal, as only prosecutors or the Solicitor General can do so.

But he also noted that Philippine authorities could not say for sure who among the 2 fugitives was “Luffy,” leaving the identification to the Japanese police.

“I do not know who among them but there are 24 telephones recovered and there are at least more than 2 tablets recovered that are already turned over to the Japanese police as of lunch time,” Remulla said.

The Justice Secretary also said the DOJ and BI were already conducting an audit on their remaining foreign detainees to avoid a repeat of what “Luffy” and his cohorts allegedly did — running their crime operations even while being detained in the Philippines. 

Kyodo News earlier reported that even under detention, “Luffy”—the alleged mastermind behind a string of robberies in Japan—would still continue giving instructions remotely to his cohorts through encrypted messaging. 

“We cannot make our country a refuge for those who are running away from the law from their countries we cannot allow that to happen anymore,” he said.

“This time I’m satisfied…I’m a bit happy but of course this is not the last one. We will be facing more cases like this from other countries that we have to correct and we intend to cooperate with the other police forces who want to get fugitives from Philippine custody.”


Watch more News on iWantTFC