Local police in China’s Guangdong province are holding in custody five Japanese citizens on suspicion of telephone fraud and possible murder of another Japanese citizen, this revealed by a senior police officer of the Zhuhai special economic zone on Thursday. Bai Zhigang, director of the publicity department under Zhuhai City public security bureau, confirmed that the suspects had admitted to running a telephone fraud operation based in Zhuhai victimizing people in Japan.
The suspects’ surnames have been released by the local Chinese police force – Sato, Sugahara, Yauchi, Tsumura and Shinoda, whose ages range from 23 to 39 years old. Local police seized a large number of documents, computers and network equipment from the group. “The suspects passed themselves off as bank staff or police officers to defraud people in Japan for money in past weeks,” Bai said in an interview on Thursday. Bai said that suspects then allegedly deposited the money they defrauded from victims into bank accounts in Japan. “The suspects said they rented an apartment in Zhuhai in early June, which borders Macao, to start cheating people in Japan via telephone,” he added. According to Bai, the investigation of the case is still ongoing, as the recorded confessions of the suspects do not match each other.
The suspects are also being investigated for the murder of one Japanese citizen surnamed Konemara, 26 years of age, whom Bai said was probably a member of the same group. Konemara was found dead in the groups’ rented house at around 10 a.m. on Tuesday. The victim had many wounds on his body and rope marks on his hands and feet. On Wednesday, the five suspects were arrested in a Western-style restaurant in the city’s Gongbei area. From the information gathered, police said that the victim was probably killed due to disagreements within the group. The victim was obviously bound and then beaten to death, this after possible differences with the group members, and possibly wanting to quit the group.
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