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Criminal Orchestrates String of Burglaries Under Alias "Luffy"

posted on by Kim Morrissy
Japan, Philippine authorities will soon be in talks about handover of suspects

A person or group of persons using the alias "Luffy" is a suspect for orchestrating a string of burglaries in at least 14 prefectures in Japan since last year. The name appears to reference the aspiring Pirate King protagonist of the One Piece anime and manga series.

Police have arrested several suspects in each of the separate cases. One of the robberies resulted in the murder of Iyo Ōshio, a 90-year-old woman in Komae, Tokyo.

Based on communication data on the suspects' mobile phones, the police believe that the robbers received instruction from "Luffy" using the Telegram messenger app. The group members appear to have been recruited through an informal recruitment ad on social media.

The Telegram messenger app is often used to orchestrate robberies because of its highly anonymous nature. The suspect of a robbery of a recycle shop in Chiba prefecture on January 12 was also found to have the Telegram app on his mobile phone.

The police have not yet determined whether "Luffy" is an individual or a group, although they have found that "Luffy's" mobile network communications originate from the Philippines.

NHK reported on Sunday that Japan and the Philippines will soon be in talks about the handover of four or five suspects, at least one of whom is believed to be "Luffy." The suspects include Yuki Watanabe and Kiyoto Imamura, who were allegedly involved in a scam in 2019. The suspects are currently being held in an immigration facility in greater Manila.

Authorities in the Philippines say that Imamura can be transferred to Japan immediately after filing the paperwork. However, they plan to hold Watanabe in custody over a separate criminal case in the Philippines.

Source: NHK (Link 2), Mainichi Shimbun via Hachima Kikō)

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