National / Crime & Legal

Filipino man arrested on return to Japan over 2004 gang rape-murder of student in Ibaraki Prefecture

Kyodo

A 33-year-old Filipino man on an international wanted list was arrested Thursday for the alleged rape and murder of a university student in Japan in 2004, police said.

The man, who had been a minor at the time of the crime and fled to the Philippines, was arrested upon his arrival at Narita airport from Manila.

The suspect had expressed his intention to return to Japan and give himself up to Japanese authorities, according to an investigative source.

In an interview with Kyodo News in a Manila suburb in September 2017, he admitted to killing the 21-year-old Ibaraki University student. A relative who was present at the interview said he should stand trial in Japan.

Police arrested 37-year-old Jerico Mori Lampano, a key culprit in the murder, in September 2017, based on DNA samples from the female victim’s body, before they put the man — who was 18 years old at the time of the crime — and a third Filipino man, who was 19, on the wanted list.

This month, the Tokyo High Court upheld a lower court ruling that sentenced Lampano, who pleaded guilty, to life in prison.

According to the ruling, the three men raped and killed the student by cutting her throat multiple times on a riverbank in the village of Miho, Ibaraki Prefecture, on Jan. 31, 2004, after abducting her in a vehicle in the nearby town of Ami earlier that day.

Japan does not have an extradition treaty with the Philippines, and it is uncertain if Japanese authorities can prosecute the third man.