Philippines deports two crime ring suspects to Japan
Tokyo, Feb 7 (EFE).- Authorities in the Philippines deported two Japanese citizens suspected of conducting a large network of thefts and scams in their native country, primarily targeting the elderly.
Kiyoto Imamura and Toshiya Fujita were detained by Japanese authorities as they boarded an aircraft to Japan.
According to police, they were detained for many days in an immigration facility in Manila while Filipino courts ruled on their repatriation before dismissing local criminal cases against them.
Two more suspected ring members — Yuki Watanabe and Tomonobu Kojima — are in the Philippines and will be deported to Japan in the coming days when Philippine court procedures are completed.
The four suspects had international arrest warrants issued by Japanese police for their suspected involvement in a series of crimes against the elderly in Japan.
Among their alleged offenses are over 20 thefts in Japan and staging telephone scams to extract money from the elderly by acting as relatives or friends.
One of the most prominent crimes they are accused of is the January robbery and murder of a 90-year-old lady in Tokyo.
The case accelerated the investigation and the deportation of the suspects.
The authorities say evidence against the suspects includes text messages intercepted on their mobile phones, in which they used pseudonyms like “Luffy” and “Kim” to target their victims.
The Japanese authorities have been following their tracks since 2019 when some of the ring members posed as police officers to steal bank cards from eight people.
The network is believed to have extracted 6 billion yen ($40 million) from its victims.
The deportations come on the eve of Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s official visit to Japan.
During his stay in Japan, which will last until Sunday, the Philippine president is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.
He will also hold meetings with government and business representatives focused on strengthening bilateral economic ties. EFE