Japan arrests two Vietnamese over 100 drugstore thefts

By Hoang Phong   April 11, 2021 | 11:51 pm PT
Japan arrests two Vietnamese over 100 drugstore thefts
People walk past a pharmacy in Tokyo, Japan. Photo by Shutterstock/Torjrtrx.
Japanese police have detained two Vietnamese men on allegations of carrying out more than 100 thefts from drugstores since last year.

The arrests were made by police in Hyogo Prefecture last week as the two, 32 and 33, were accused of stealing medicines, essential goods and functional food worth 3.2 million yen ($30,000) from drugstores in eight prefectures since March 2020, Japanese news outlet NHK reported.

The two suspects, who used to be trainees in Japan, pleaded guilty, saying they had committed the burglaries to "cover their living expenses and gambling." Stolen items mainly included sunscreen, shaving products, tonics, and essential items.

"I used to go to the Japanese immigration department to register to fly home because my internship period ended and I was unemployed. But I was unable to return home due to Covid-19 travel restrictions," said one of the two suspects.

"Vietnam has great demand for Japanese consumer goods. I had sold stolen goods to an acquaintance through social media platform SNS," he added.

The duo have been put under criminal investigation while Japanese police are hunting another Vietnamese accomplice involved in the case.

The number of Vietnamese residents in Japan reached 448,053 last year, making it the second largest expat community in the country after the Chinese.

In recent years, the growing presence of Japanese companies in Vietnam has sparked greater interest among younger Vietnamese to study and/or undertake technical training programs in Japan in the hope of landing a well-paid job.

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