National / Crime & Legal

Police raid yakuza offices across Japan over ATM fraud

JIJI

Police have launched a series of raids at locations linked to yakuza crime syndicates over their alleged organized involvement in simultaneous fraudulent ATM withdrawals totaling ¥1.8 billion in 2016.

The raids Monday covered five offices of yakuza groups, including the headquarters of the Yamaguchi-gumi in Kobe, the head office of the Kodo-kai, a core group of the Yamaguchi-gumi, in Nagoya and an office of the Sumiyoshi-kai in Tokyo.

The searches were conducted by officers from five prefectural police departments, including those of Chiba and Fukuoka.

The illegal activity occurred in May 2016, in which money was withdrawn simultaneously from convenience store ATMs in 17 prefectures, including Tokyo, Aichi and Osaka, with forged cash cards using customer information from South Africa’s Standard Bank.

The stolen cash may have been passed on to yakuza groups, investigative sources said. Overseas hacker involvement is also suspected, they said.

A Tokyo man in his 30s suspected of being one of the masterminds behind the incident has already been arrested. The man, who has ties to the yakuza, is believed to have overseen those who actually withdrew the cash, the sources said.

Another man, a former member of a biker gang who is suspected of being one of the key culprits in the case, has been put on the police wanted list.