• Kyodo

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A 31-year-old South Korean man was sentenced Monday to seven years in prison for his role in robbing a van transporting cash in Manazuru, Kanagawa Prefecture, last year.

According to the Saitama District Court ruling, Kim Han Sop, an unemployed man from Sendai, was part of a gang that held up a farm cooperative vehicle transporting 78 million yen in cash July 10.

The robbers, who fled with the cash in the van, injured an farm cooperative employee who was sitting in the front passenger seat during the holdup, the court found.

Others involved in the robbery allegedly include Tadashi Ono, 42, a former senior gang member, and Yuji Ishizuka, 32, a former farm cooperative employee who was driving the vehicle at the time.

Presiding Judge Kaoru Kanayama said, “This is a coordinated crime by Japanese and foreigners. Kim played an important role in the case, but he was less involved than the other accomplices.”

Kim, on trial with Ono and Ishizuka, was the first to be judged in the case.

Ono and Ishizuka are expected to receive judgments May 31 at the Odawara branch of the Yokohama District Court.

Prosecutors had demanded an eight-year term for Kim, and are seeking 13 years for Ono and 10 years for Ishizuka.

The Saitama District Court began trying Kim on charges of immigration violation in December. The prosecutors later indicted him on robbery charges in the holdup case.

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