Television Tokyo Channel 12 Ltd. employees paid 350,000 yen to an informant who told them about a planned heist at a Tokyo company that the broadcaster filmed and aired in May, it was acknowledged Tuesday.
According to police, five men broke into the construction materials company in Edogawa Ward at around 1:40 a.m. May 25 and tried to steal a safe.
A six- or seven-member TV Tokyo crew filmed the entire incident, from the break-in to the arrest of some of the perpetrators by police who had been alerted.
A TV Tokyo official said one of the network’s reporters paid the money to ensure the safety of the informant and his family, not as a reward for the tip.
“But consideration toward the victim was lacking,” the TV official said. “Provision of money is against the company’s rules and we will consider punishment.”
Mana Yamaguchi, head of the broadcaster’s public relations division, told a news conference that the money was given as an emergency measure aimed at protecting the informant’s relatives.
“However, it makes it appear as though the act assisted in the perpetrating of a crime, and it is regrettable,” he said.
Police, who were on standby at the scene after the reporter alerted them, arrested three men on a charge of attempted burglary, including the informant, a 50-year-old man from Saitama Prefecture. The two others fled the scene.
The reporter and an editor paid the combined 350,000 yen on two occasions prior to airing the segment, TV Tokyo said, adding they provided the money on a private basis.
According to the broadcaster, the informant first contacted TV Tokyo about the planned crime around May 10. Believing he would be arrested, he asked TV Tokyo to deposit money into an account so his family could escape other members of the gang by going into hiding, company officials said.
A reporter in his 30s spoke with the informant on several occasions, and notified police of the upcoming heist, according to TV Tokyo. He also witnessed the group inspecting the scene of the planned crime in advance, officials added.
After consulting with the editor, the reporter paid 100,000 yen directly to the informant, they said. The remainder of the money was deposited into the bank account of the informant’s family two days after the robbery, they said.
Prosecutors decided not to indict the informant in mid-June. He reportedly told investigators he provided the information to several TV stations and because TV Tokyo responded, he had TV Tokyo notify the police.
Police would not confirm or deny receiving information from TV Tokyo regarding the burglary.
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