National / Crime & Legal

Man held for free train ride halfway across Japan for coronavirus cash


A Filipino man has been arrested for allegedly taking a free ride on a bullet train halfway across the country in hopes of getting the government’s ¥100,000 ($920) coronavirus cash handout, police said Friday.

The man, Kris Noel Macalalad Eliseo, 35, was arrested Thursday after he set off an alarm as he tried to pass through a ticket gate without a ticket at Hakata Station in Fukuoka Prefecture, they said.

He is suspected of traveling from Tokyo Station to Hakata Station — a distance of over 1,100 kilometers — on Thursday without paying the ¥22,200 fee.

Eliseo, described by police as unemployed and of no fixed residence, has told investigators he was trying to go to Nagasaki, near Fukuoka, where he used to work as he thought he could receive the ¥100,000 handout from the local government there.

The government has introduced a blanket cash handout program for helping individuals weather the economic fallout of the coronavirus outbreak. Foreign nationals who are on the basic resident register as of April 27 are also eligible.

When people actually receive the cash, however, depends on how quickly each municipality can process the applications.

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