• Kyodo

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Three men and a male teenager have been arrested for allegedly keeping a 15-year-old girl captive for about a week, Chiba Prefectural Police officials said Thursday.

The victim, a freshman at a Tokyo high school, was placed in protective custody early Thursday.

Yoshihiko Endo, 21, from Ichikawa, Chiba Prefecture, was arrested early Thursday after he turned himself in to police with the girl.

The girl, who disappeared on Oct. 1, had minor injuries to her wrists.

Police quoted her as saying she had been blindfolded throughout her captivity except for when she was given food, and that she had been moved from one place to another.

Police suspect Endo kept her captive in collusion with the three other suspects, including Masahiko Shoji, 32, who was identified as a member of the Yamaguchi-gumi underworld syndicate; a 16-year-old construction worker who lives in Ichikawa; and a 21-year-old construction worker. All three were arrested Saturday.

According to investigators, the victim was introduced by a friend to Shoji and went to dinner on the evening of Sept. 30 together with the other suspects. After her friend parted with the group, the suspects allegedly confined the girl in Shoji’s apartment in Ichikawa.

The friend became worried because she could not reach the girl on her mobile phone, police said. She visited the apartment later that night and reportedly saw the girl blindfolded and surrounded by six to seven men, including the suspects.

At that time, Shoji told the friend not to worry because the girl “would soon be returned home,” police said.

On Friday afternoon, the friend contacted police about the incident, and officers arrested Shoji and two other suspects the following day.

But the victim had been moved to a different location by then, and police continued the search for her.

Investigators are now looking into the whereabouts of several more people suspected of involvement in confining the girl.

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