‘Luffy’ Group Suspected of Involvement in Komae Robbery-Murder

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Investigators are seen on Jan. 22 near a house where a robbery and murder took place in Komae, Tokyo.

A criminal group led by a figure using the name Luffy is suspected of involvement in a recent robbery and murder case in Komae, Tokyo, according to investigative sources.

Another member of the group who goes by the name Kim sent the address of the house where the crime took place to subordinate members, the sources said. The Metropolitan Police Department is investigating whether the Komae case is linked to four Japanese men currently detained in the Philippines.

Kinuyo Oshio, 90, was found dead in the basement of a house with her hands tied, in a robbery-homicide that occurred on Jan. 19. Footprints left at the scene indicate there were four perpetrators, but suspects have not been identified.

According to the sources, five men were arrested on suspicion of robbery resulting in injury in a case in which about ¥30 million in cash was taken from a house in Nakano Ward, Tokyo, on Dec. 5. This case is believed to be connected with a series of robberies in the Kanto region and elsewhere.

The MPD analyzed smartphones seized from some of the suspects and found that a person using the name Kim had sent them a message with the address of Oshio’s house. They communicated through Telegram, an app that can automatically delete messages, but Kim’s message is believed to have remained undeleted because it was unread.

Along with Luffy, Kim also had given instructions to the perpetrators of another robbery in which about ¥35 million in cash and gold bullion was stolen from a house in Inagi, Tokyo, on Oct. 20. Seven suspects have been arrested over this case, and the names of Luffy and Kim were found on some of the suspects’ Telegram accounts.

The MPD believes that Kim and Luffy are either associates or the same person. Investigators are looking into the Komae case, as they suspect the same group was also involved in this incident.

Phone calls from Luffy and Kim originated in the Philippines, giving rise to the possibility that the four men detained by Philippines immigration authorities, including Yuki Watanabe and Kiyoto Imamura, may have been involved in these robberies.

The men are allegedly senior members of a special fraud group, whose 36 Japanese nationals were caught in suburban Manila in November 2019. The MPD have obtained arrest warrants for the four on theft and other charges.

Watanabe has previously gone by the name Luffy.