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A group of robbers made off with about 31.1 million yen in cash and checks early Sunday after attacking two security guards in a van in Kamogawa, Chiba Prefecture, police said.

At around 2:40 a.m., four or five men wearing helmets stormed the security van after the guards returned with cash from the local office of delivery company Sagawa Express Co., police said.

After hitting the guards about the head and face with what appeared to be metal bats, the assailants sprayed them with tear gas, tied them up and stole eight bags containing 24.8 million yen in cash and 6.3 million yen in checks, police said.

The guards, Yoshitake Ogawa, 28, and Koji Yamamoto, 23, later freed themselves and notified police through the security company’s head office. Ogawa was seriously hurt and Yamamoto slightly injured.

According to the security firm, Rising Sun Security Service, the suspects wore full-face helmets and accessed the van’s strongroom by using a key taken from the guards. It is not yet known how the robbers fled the scene.

The van had made collections at seven other Sagawa offices in the prefecture before arriving at the Kamogawa office, police said.

The Kamogawa office, situated along national road No. 410 and surrounded by rice paddies, was vacant at the time of the incident, they said.

Highway robbery

CHIBA (Kyodo) A group of eight men in two cars attacked and robbed a university student and his friend around midnight Saturday after forcing their car to pull over, police said Sunday.

The two were driving on a road in Matsudo, Chiba Prefecture, at around 12:45 a.m. Sunday when they were forced to stop by two cars that trapped them from in front and behind, police said.

Eight assailants apparently in their 20s then exited the two cars and began assaulting the pair with a knife and a bat before robbing them of their possessions, they said. The two sustained minor injuries.

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