Japan arrests three serial Vietnamese shoplifters

By Nguyen Quy   November 12, 2018 | 05:56 am PT
Japan arrests three serial Vietnamese shoplifters
Tourists are seen in front of a drug store in Japan. Photo by Shutterstock/Takamex
Japanese police have detained three Vietnamese nationals for a series of cosmetics robberies from Tokyo stores.

The arrests were made following a six months surveillance of the trio: two female interns and a 25-year-old male gang leader, a former student staying on in Japan as a refugee, the Yomiuri newspaper reported Monday. Their names have not been revealed.

The surveillance began mid-May after Tokyo police received a complaint from a drug store owner, saying a group of foreigners had entered the store and stolen cosmetics products. They acted quickly and left in three minutes, the complainant said.   

Initial investigations showed the Vietnamese gang had carried out at least 10 robberies  between January and July.  

They stayed in a rented apartment in Tokyo and robbed stores in a systematic manner, with one doing the shoplifting, one keeping a lookout and the third driving.

Vietnamese expats in Japan committed more crimes than any other foreign non-permanent residents living in the country last year, according to Kyodo News.

Police recorded 5,140 crimes committed by Vietnamese people in 2017, up from 3,177 the year before, accounting for 30.2 percent of the total number of crimes committed by foreign nationals.

Shoplifting was the dominant crime, with 2,037 cases, while burglary jumped to 325 in 2017 from just 12 the previous year.

Vietnamese have surpassed Brazilians to become the fourth biggest minority group in Japan after the number of non-permanent residents in the country grew more than six-fold between 2008 and 2017, when it reached about 260,000 last year.

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