4 Vietnamese Allegedly Recruited for Shoplifting Spree at UNIQLO Arrested; Told by Ringleader ‘Japan is Easy Place to Shoplift.’

Fukuoka prefectural police
Stolen Uniqlo clothing confiscated by police

A group of four Vietnamese men and women who allegedly went on a shoplifting spree of casual clothing giant Uniqlo have been arrested by the Fukuoka prefectural police, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.

They were later indicted on the charge of theft.

According to police, the four, who claimed to have come to Japan to escape poverty in their home country due to debt and illness, said they were solicited by a ringleader who offered them large renumeration, telling them, “Japan is an easy place to shoplift.”

They were taught stealing techniques in Vietnam by the ringleader, who made the arrangements for them to travel as a group to Japan.

“My husband is ill and unable to work, so my parents and child all depend on my income,” one of the four members said at their first hearing at the Fukuoka District Court on Feb. 26. “I also needed money to pay for an operation for myself.”

She spoke of difficult living conditions in her home country, where she said she earned ¥50,000 a month as a fruit vendor. Her child quit high school because she could not pay the tuition.