Robber in Yamaguchi Pref. Says Man Called ‘Kim’ Directed Him

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Yamaguchi prefectural police headquarters in Yamaguchi City

A man given a prison sentence for attempted robbery in Iwakuni, Yamaguchi Prefecture, has told The Yomiuri Shimbun that he received instructions via the Telegram messaging app from a person calling himself “Kim.” The alias “Kim” is linked to a spate of robberies where the perpetrators were recruited on social media.

In an interview on Monday at a detention facility, Tsubasa Watanabe, 26, said he saw a social media post offering a job that paid “¥1 million a day” and applied for the job on Nov. 2 of last year. He was told to connect via Telegram, through which he was asked to send a picture of himself holding his driver’s license for confirmation of his identity.

Watanabe received a message from Kim on Nov. 5 that read, “There’s a job in Yamaguchi.”

Watanabe took the Shinkansen bullet train from Tokyo and met the other individuals who would be working the job. They broke into a man’s house in Iwakuni early on the morning of Nov. 7, but were unable to take any money or goods as the man resisted.

One individual in the attempted robbery told the group before the break-in that “there are two safes, with about ¥100 million” in the house.

“I was instructed that it was a robbery job,” Watanabe told The Yomiuri Shimbun. “I thought maybe my role would be a lookout or something, so I had the idea that my crime wouldn’t be too serious.”

Watanabe was sentenced two years and six months in prison on Thursday, but said that he had no intention of appealing his sentence.