Two men, including Yuki Watanabe, suspected of being involved in a string of robberies in Japan, were deported from an immigration facility in the Philippines and arrested en route by the Metropolitan Police Department on Thursday.
The MPD will investigate the connection between the men, along with the two other men arrested this week, and the alias Luffy, under which one or multiple individuals directed the perpetrators of the robberies.
Watanabe, 38, and Tomonobu Kojima, 45, who had both been detained at the Bicutan detention center in a Manila suburb, boarded a passenger plane at an airport near Manila in the early hours of Thursday morning, accompanied by MPD investigators who had been dispatched to the country. Watanabe and Kojima were arrested aboard a deportation flight on suspicion of theft related to a fraud case before arriving at Haneda Airport around 4: 45 a.m.
Two suspects walked with their heads bowed at an airport gate after landing, and appeared in front of the press, making no particular show of emotion. They were transferred to a police station in Tokyo from the airport.
On Tuesday, the MPD arrested Kiyoto Imamura and Toshiya Fujita, both 38, over the same fraud case, following their deportation from the Philippines. The police believe that the four were leaders of a fraud group that scammed victims across Japan out of 6 billion dollars between 2018 and 2020, and are working to clarify how the crimes were conducted.
The fraud was perpetrated by criminals pretending to be police officers and other officials who mainly called elderly people and told them their bank account had been compromised. The victims were urged to put their cash cards in envelopes so that they could be swapped out with fake ones. Watanabe was called the Boss within the group that was running the scam, police said.