Detention Center Holding Robbery Suspects Has All 36 Officials Sacked

Sho Komine/The Yomiuri Shimbun
The Bicutan detention center in a Manila suburb on Jan 30.

MANILA — Philippine authorities announced Saturday that they had dismissed all 36 officials, including the director, at the Bicutan detention center in a Manila suburb, where four Japanese men suspected of involvement in a string of robberies across Japan are being held.

According to the local authorities, Yuki Watanabe, 38, and the three other Japanese men had given money to staff members at the immigration facility so that they could use smartphones, the possession of which is banned at the center.

Arrest warrants have been issued for the four men in Japan on suspicion of theft and other crimes related to special fraud unconnected to the recent robberies.

Suspicions have emerged that the detainees may have given instructions from inside the facility to the perpetrators of a series of robberies.

A number of smartphones, computers, Wi-Fi routers and other communication devices were seized in a search conducted Wednesday.