2 Vietnamese Arrested on Suspicion of Stealing Bonsai after Being Identified by GPS Attached to Stolen Items

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Bonsai pots stolen by Vietnamese suspects are seen at the Okazaki Police Station in Aichi Prefecture.

NAGOYA – Two Vietnamese men have been arrested on suspicion of stealing a total of seven bonsai pots worth ¥5.3 million from a residence in Kanagawa Prefecture in March, according to the Aichi prefectural police and other authorities.

Police have identified a 20-year-old man from Nagoya, who is a student at a Japanese language school, and a 33-year-old man from Togo, Aichi Prefecture, through a small GPS device attached to the stolen bonsai. The suspects are believed to have stolen the bonsai in order to export them to other countries.

Police believe this is a part of an organized crime, as about 180 bonsai pots have been stolen in the prefecture since December. The total damage is estimated at more than ¥20 million. Bonsai are also popular in other countries, such as Vietnam and China.

The Nippon Bonsai Association has urged its members to take security measures by installing sensor lights and making bonsai invisible to passersby as a series of bonsai thefts have occurred in the Kanto and Chubu regions.