Japanese men detained in Manila over phone scam brought to Japan

Kyodo News

Posted at Feb 24 2020 07:46 PM

TOKYO - Nine of 36 Japanese men detained in Manila over alleged phone scams were transferred to Japan and arrested by Tokyo police on Monday.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department said Ryo Imaizumi, 27, and eight other men are members of a fraud syndicate which may have scammed some 1.5 billion yen ($13 million) from about 1,700 people in Japan since 2018.

The nine men were arrested upon their arrival in Japan for allegedly pretending to be government and police officials and telling a woman in her 60s living in Tokyo over the phone to give her ATM cards to their accomplice who visited her home in November last year.

The police suspect that their syndicate operated a phone scam out of an abandoned hotel in Manila and other locations in the Philippines, targeting mainly elderly people in Japan.

The syndicate's members in the Philippines stole victims' ATM cards by telling them over the phone that their bank account information was used in a crime and that their cards need to be replaced, according to the police department. Other syndicate members in Japan visited the victims' homes pretending to be public officials, it said.