Immigration officer accused of fondling detainees

The Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau filed a criminal accusation against one of its guards Mar. 19 at the Yokohama District Public Prosecutor’s Office for allegedly molesting female detainees.

The 38-year-old male guard at the bureau’s detention facilities was dismissed earlier in the day and confessed to having touched the breasts and buttocks of more than one Southeast Asian detainee on several occasions, bureau officials said. Officials of both the immigration bureau and the Justice Ministry refused to release the name of the guard. The bureau is an arm of the ministry.

The guard allegedly committed the acts sometime between 1993 and April 1996 while employed at bureau facilities in Yokohama and Tokyo’s Kita Ward. The bureau had been investigating the allegations since last April, when it learned of the incidents from inmates, the officials said.

The guard also said he had taken at least three trips to Thailand between 1991 and 1994. The officials said that while on the trips, the guard visited Thai women with whom he had become acquainted while at the detention facilities. He received their favors by having them pick him up at the airport, show him around, and giving him lodging, the officials added.

In addition to dismissing the guard, the ministry has cut the salary of another official — identified only as a male guard in his 20s who works at the Tokyo Immigration Office — by 10 percent for one month because he traveled with the dismissed guard to Thailand once. Immigration facilities house foreigners who are being investigated for possible violations of immigration laws and those awaiting expulsion from the country.