• Kyodo


Chinese police have reportedly detained two former Chinese students at a Japanese college who are suspected of being involved in the killing of a Fukuoka family in June, according to investigation sources.

The two — identified as Wang Liang, 21, and Yang Ning, 23 — allegedly murdered 41-year-old clothing merchant Shinjiro Matsumoto, his wife and their two children. Their bodies, weighed down by dumbbells, were found June 20 in Hakata Bay.

The Fukuoka police have obtained arrest warrants for the two on charges of using false identities in purchasing mobile phones that were allegedly used to coordinate the killings.

The police plan to seek additional arrest warrants for the two on charges of abandoning human remains and are to formally request the cooperation of Chinese law-enforcement authorities, the sources said.

The Fukuoka police are in discussions with the National Police Agency and plan to send investigators to China, where they hope to question the two suspects, they added.

The Fukuoka police sought the cooperation of Chinese law-enforcement authorities after they learned that the two, both from Changchun, Jilin Province, flew to Shanghai on the same flight on June 24, four days after the killings were reported in the press.

The Fukuoka police investigation focused on the pair after Wei Wei, a 23-year-old Chinese arrested earlier on multiple charges separate from the killings, told investigators that he had been invited by Wang to take part in the killings to make money.

Wei has already confessed that he, Wang and Yang were involved in killing the Matsumotos and dumping their bodies in Hakata Bay, according to police.

The police believe that an individual, or a group, bore a grudge against the Matsumotos and hired the three Chinese as there are no links between the suspects and the family.

Earlier this month, police said a former Chinese manager of an Internet cafe in Fukuoka, who allegedly has links to underworld figures, was in frequent contact with the suspects immediately before and after the killings.

They have already questioned several local gang members with records of involvement in illegal smuggling of Chinese nationals into Japan to determine whether they have any information about the case.

The police have so far learned that Wang used to attend a Japanese language school in Fukuoka city, while Yang went to a private college in Kitakyushu. They disappeared after arriving back in Shanghai.

Police have determined that Wang purchased handcuffs and dumbbells two days before the killings after his image was captured on a security camera at a discount store near the scene of the crime. A DNA test also suggests Wang was involved in the dumping of the victims’ bodies.

The police arrested Wei on Aug. 8, shortly before he was scheduled to leave for China. The police located Wei because he had been in frequent contact with the two suspects by mobile phone immediately before the killings.

The police filed a new arrest warrant against Wei on suspicion of fraud for attempting to purchase a mobile phone under a false identity. He was served another warrant on Saturday in connection with a robbery that resulted in injury in a separate incident and is still being investigated in connection with the Matsumoto killings.

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