Police said Thursday they have arrested a man on suspicion of pocketing around ¥5 million from the salaries of Cambodians working illegally in Japan as trainees.

Hirokazu Inatomi, 64, a former senior official of the Inaho cooperative union in Shimotsuma, Ibaraki Prefecture, allegedly told five workers who entered the country using forged passports that he would deduct ¥60,000 each month from their salaries to send to their families in Cambodia, the metropolitan police department said.

But he only sent half of the amount to their families and kept the rest, which amounted to ¥5.14 million, in a bank account under his control between July 2010 and November 2012, according to the police. The total sum embezzled under the scheme is thought to be around ¥200 million, the police said, adding that Inatomi has denied the charges.

The Inaho cooperative union has accepted around 500 Cambodian workers since around 2003 under the government's industrial training and technical internship program, sending them to work at farms and factories.

Inatomi was given a suspended prison sentence last June for sending three Cambodian illegal immigrants to work on farms as trainees.