Japanese fugitive tagged in fraud syndicate nabbed in Parañaque

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 26 2021 01:33 PM | Updated as of May 27 2021 01:18 PM

Japanese fugitive tagged in fraud syndicate nabbed in Parañaque 1
Authorities apprehended a Japanese fugitive who is allegedly involved in online fraud and extortion. Photo from the National Bureau of Investigation

MANILA (UPDATE) — The National Bureau of Investigation said Wednesday it arrested a Japanese fugitive allegedly involved in online fraud and extortion.

NBI Officer-in-Charge Director Eric Distor, in a statement, said authorities nabbed Watanabe Yuki, 37, in a hotel in Parañaque City last May 17.

Yuki is supposedly the "big boss" of the largest telecommunication fraud syndicate, whose operations cover several countries including Japan and the Philippines, according to the NBI.

He also has a blue notice from the Interpol, under which police in member countries collect information about his "identity, location or activities in relation to a crime."

"Yuki was hiding in the country due to his involvement in various crimes in Japan and other countries. He is also allegedly operating syndicate activities in the Philippines, such as but not limited to, online fraud and extortions," the NBI said.

Two other Japanese nationals, Tomonobu Saito and Kousuke Ii, were arrested with Yuki but a release order has already been issued for Ii for lack of evidence.

Immigration records later found that Ii "is not an overstaying alien as his tourist visa is valid until May 2021," the NBI said.

A commitment order from the Bureau of Immigration (BI) cited Yuki as charged for undesirability and being an illegal entrant, while Saito, 43, has an outstanding summary deportation order.

Dana Sandoval, spokesperson of the BI which took custody of the two last May 20, said both have warrants from Japan.

They continue to be on quarantine at a separate section of the Immigration's warden facility since Yuki, according to the NBI, was found positive for COVID-19.

The two were turned over to the BI after getting cleared by the San Lazaro Hospital, the NBI said.

Sandoval said the two are also facing charges in the Philippines, and a hold departure order had been issued against them.

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