Luffy-linked Robbery Proceeds Transferred to Suspected Ringleader’s Account, Police Sources Say

Courtesy of Philippine National Police
Kiyoto Imamura

The proceeds of a robbery linked to a suspect nicknamed Luffy were allegedly transferred to the account of a man in police custody who is thought to be involved in a robbery ring, according to investigative sources.

The authorities think that a person who goes by the name of Luffy has orchestrated a spate of robberies across Japan, and they now believe Kiyoto Imamura is Luffy, according to the sources.

Imamura, 39, and three other men suspected of being senior members of a fraud group were deported from the Philippines in February.

The Metropolitan Police Department has been investigating possible connections between the men and the robberies.

The bank account to which crime proceeds were transferred is the first solid link the police have established between Imamura and the robberies.

The names of other ringleaders that have emerged during the investigation are Kim and Mitsuhashi. The MPD is looking into a possible connection to the other three men.

According to the investigative sources, 41 luxury watches worth about ¥69 million were stolen from a Kyoto pawnshop in May 2022.

Yuki Miyazawa has been indicted for allegedly transporting 11 of the 41 stolen watches worth about ¥13 million. He then allegedly had a collaborator trade the items for cash at a pawnshop in Tokyo.

Miyazawa, who was allegedly following instructions sent by Luffy online, is suspected of transferring about ¥1 million on May 11-13, 2022, to a bank account in Hokkaido owned by Imamura.

The 22-year-old suspect allegedly transferred the money under a false name.

Around the same time, almost all the transferred money was withdrawn from multiple ATMs including one near the Philippine immigration bureau’s Bicutan detention center in Manila where Imamura and the other three deported men were detained at the time.

The card used to withdraw the money belonged to Imamura.

The MPD suspects Imamura, using the nickname Luffy, was sending instructions to Miyazawa via a smartphone from the detention center.

Imamura is thought to have relied on associates in the Philippines to withdraw the money, according to the sources.

Miyazawa was rearrested on May 31 on suspicion of concealing criminal proceeds.