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Japanese citizens detained for fraud, murder

By Zheng Caixiong in Guangzhou | China Daily | Updated: 2013-06-14 08:12

A senior police officer from the Zhuhai special economic zone in Guangdong province confirmed on Thursday that local police are holding five Japanese citizens on suspicion of telephone fraud and slaying a Japanese man.

Bai Zhigang, director of the publicity department under Zhuhai city public security bureau, said that after they were detained, the suspects, who are 23 to 39 years old, admitted that they had defrauded people in Japan via telephone from Zhuhai, located at the mouth of the Pearl River.

They suspects' surnames are Sato, Sugahara, Yauchi, Tsumura and Shinoda.

Police are also investigating the death of a man surnamed Konemara, 26, who was a member of the group, Bai said.

Police seized a large number of written material, computers and other network equipment and tools in an operation that began on Wednesday, Bai said.

"The suspects passed themselves off as bank staff or police officers to defraud people in Japan for money in past weeks," Bai told China Daily on Thursday.

Bai did not say how much money the suspects had gotten from their victims, who allegedly deposited money into the suspects' bank accounts in Japan.

"The investigation of the case has not been completed as the confessions from the five suspects are inconsistent," he said. "Police officers are still collecting evidence.

"The suspects said they rented an apartment in Zhuhai in early June, which borders Macao, to start defrauding people in Japan via telephone," he added.

An official from the Japanese embassy in Beijing said Chinese police have informed the embassy about the case.

"The embassy has asked the Japanese consulate-general in Guangzhou to send staff to the scene in Zhuhai and see the suspects who have been detained to understand the case further," the official, who did not want to be named, told China Daily on Thursday.

"And the embassy has also informed family members of the suspects in Japan," he added.

The case came to light when a Japanese man was found dead in a rented house at about 10 am on Tuesday in Nanping township in Zhuhai's Xiangzhou district. A special task force was immediately established to investigate.

Police officers found many wounds on the victim's body and rope marks on his hands and feet, Bai said.

Police arrested the suspects in a Western-style restaurant in the city's Gongbei area in a special operation launched at about 6 pm on Wednesday.

The victim died after disagreements arose in the gang, according to Zhuhai police sources .

The victim is believed to have been bound and beaten to death after he had differences with his fellow gang members about their activities, and he may have wanted to leave the gang, police sources said.

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