Two hurt in station mugging; suspect shot

At least two people were slightly injured Thursday when they tried to stop a gang that robbed an elderly woman on the platform of Denenchofu Station in Tokyo’s Ota Ward, and police later shot a man in connection with the incident.

The mugging occurred at around 12:15 p.m., when an employee of the Tokyu Toyoko Line station and a 32-year-old male passenger tried to stop the men, who surrounded the 80-year-old woman and took her wallet, they said.

The passenger’s right hand was cut with a knife in the ensuing scuffle and the station worker was hit was what appeared to be pepper spray, according to investigators. A few other people nearby also complained of feeling ill after coming into contact with the gas, they said.

Police said the assailants, who fled the scene, appeared to have been foreign nationals of Asian origin. There were about four or five of them, according to witness accounts.

Two fled through the ticket gates, while the others jumped onto trains just before they departed, police said.

They later arrested one man in connection with the attack after shooting him in the leg and back when he confronted them with a knife.

Police fired three shots when apprehending the man, who had entered a vacant house about 500 meters from the station and had pulled out a kitchen knife to resist arrest, investigators claimed. He identified himself as Son Chang Mo and said he was a 40-year-old South Korean, police said.

The incident comes a day after a Tokyo subway station employee was shot and seriously wounded in Shibuya, also during a robbery.

The Metropolitan Police Department said there has been a rise in the number of pickpocket gangs armed with knives and tear gas around Tokyo in recent months.