Japan arrests 8 men over spate of violent robberies with an alleged Philippines link

TOKYO, Jan 26 (scmp.com) - Eight men have been arrested in connection with an October robbery in the suburban Tokyo city of Inagi, police said Thursday, as officers attempt to track down the “Luffy” ringleader suspected to be behind a spate of burglaries across the country.

Japan has been rocked by the robberies, which began last year and appear to be carried out by people instructed by ringleaders using the encrypted messaging app Telegram. Among the cases is the murder-robbery of 90-year-old Kinuyo Oshio in her home in the city of Komae in Tokyo on January 19.

In the Inagi case, the police believe the suspects colluded in forcefully entering a residence, injuring a resident and stealing gold bullion and other valuables and some 35 million yen (US$271,000) in cash. One of the eight has been released pending a decision.

Analysis of phones belonging to some of the arrested show they received instructions from three names – Luffy, Kim and Mitsuhashi. The telephone number linked to Luffy suggests the person is in the Philippines, the police said. ...continue reading

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