A 58-year-old man was found unharmed in the town of Okabe, Shizuoka Prefecture, early Saturday after allegedly being abducted Monday in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward, police said.
According to investigators, Toshimitsu Chong, a South Korean resident of Japan who also uses the Japanese surname Kawahara, rushed into a nearby eatery for help after he was released along a road in Okabe at around 12:50 a.m. Saturday. The town is about 200 km southwest of Tokyo.
There were welts on his hands and face as if he had been bound, and police were trying to confirm that he was not injured and question him for more details about the alleged abduction.
During the time he was held captive, Chong called his 57-year-old wife nearly 30 times and instructed her to prepare 100 million yen, police said. The Metropolitan Police Department is investigating the incident as a ransom case and set up a unit Saturday at its Shibuya Police Station to probe the case.
According to police, about four or five men blindfolded Chong, who owns a South Korean restaurant, with duct tape and forced him into a station wagon near his home in Shibuya Ward as he returned home by taxi at around 9 p.m. Monday. His wife contacted police the following day.
While being held captive from Tuesday through Friday, Chong phoned home about 30 times, police said. He first phoned home from his mobile phone at around 1 p.m. Tuesday and told his wife that a friend had asked him for a loan of 50 million yen and asked her to prepare the money, according to police.
In later calls, he told her to prepare 100 million yen apart from the 50 million yen.
In the last phone call from Chong’s cellphone at around 5:30 p.m. Friday, he told his wife to “leave home at 6 p.m.” and mentioned the “Umihotaru” rest stop on the Tokyo Bay Aqualine expressway before the phone faded out, according to investigators.
Police believe Chong’s kidnappers threatened and forced him to make the calls. In the background of the calls, men speaking with a Kansai or Nagoya accent could be heard, authorities said.
Chong was quoted as telling police that he did not recognize the voices of any of the men.
He was allegedly confined in several places, including a closet in a house, they said, adding that he reportedly ate cups of noodles and bread, and also was allowed to use the toilet and bathroom.
The woman of the eatery where Chong sought help said he appeared very tired when he knocked on their back door, and asked to use the telephone.
He made several calls, apparently to family members, after which she contacted local police, she said.
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