Robbery Suspects Allege Coercion from Group

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Members of a robbery ring suspected of committing crimes across Japan claimed they were controlled through fear after handing over personal information to the ringleaders of the group, according to investigative sources.

“I couldn’t quit the group because they might have harmed my family or my workplace,” one of the arrested suspects reportedly told police.

Seven people have been arrested on suspicion of being involved in a robbery resulting in injury in Inagi, Tokyo, in October, in which about ¥35 million was stolen.

According to investigative sources, most of the seven suspects claimed they joined the group after responding to Twitter posts advertising “dark” part-time jobs for high pay. They reportedly said they wanted to earn money because of debts, gambling or entertainment purposes.

Their rewards allegedly depended on their roles in the crime, for example, “About ¥1 million for the attackers” and “¥800,000 for the getaway driver.”

People who responded to the offers of “dark” part-time jobs were allegedly asked to send headshots and photos of their driver’s license on the Telegram communication app. Initiates were then warned that if they left the group there would be consequences, according to the sources.

“A man I didn’t know came to my home. It felt like the group was watching me. I joined a scary group”, one of the suspects was quoted by police as saying.

Similar methods have also been used by gangs involved in fraud and police are exploring the possibility that such a group is behind the robbery ring.

One of the seven suspects held over the Inagi case was rearrested Thursday on suspicion of being involved in a robbery resulting in injury in Nakano Ward, Tokyo, among other allegations.

Two of the seven arrested suspects are alleged to have been involved in a robbery and attempted murder in Hiroshima on Dec. 21.

The names Kimu, Mitsuhashi and Luffy have emerged through analysis of smartphones used by the suspects. According to the investigative sources, some of the suspects have said Kimu told them, “If you rob someone, you might as well kill them.”

It is unknown whether Luffy and Kimu are aliases used by different people or the same person.

The Philippines’ country code has appeared in analysis of calls made on the suspects’ smartphones.

According to the sources, Japanese police might seek the cooperation of Philippine authorities in the ongoing investigation.


To read a related story, click here.