4 Vietnamese Arrested in Shoplifting Spree at UNIQLO, Other Stores in Japan

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The logo of Uniqlo

FUKUOKA — Four Vietnamese nationals were arrested and sent to prosecutors after allegedly going on a long shoplifting spree at UNIQLO and other clothing stores across Japan, the Fukuoka prefectural police said Tuesday.

The four told police that they came to Japan to steal items that they would then sell on a flea market app in Vietnam.

The police confirmed a total of 66 similar cases of shoplifting over five years from December 2018 in eight prefectures spanning Fukuoka, Tokyo and the Kansai region. A total of 5,237 items with a total value of ¥19.7 million were believed to have been stolen. Of the 66, the police sent three cases to prosecutors.

The prefectural police obtained an arrest warrant for the alleged ringleader on suspicion of theft, deducing that the stolen items would be sold in Vietnam where UNIQLO products are quite popular.

It is suspected that the group targeted stores in Japan because of a recent crackdown on shoplifting in Vietnam. Police said the group used a special bag that keeps stolen items inside it from setting off alarms.

According to police, a 38-year-old defendant and three others were arrested on suspicion of stealing 87 items valued at ¥347,130 from a UNIQLO store in Fukuoka on Sept. 26 last year. All four were later indicted on charges of theft.