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Tokyo police arrested two Chinese exchange students Tuesday for their alleged involvement in fraudulent money withdrawals related to mobile phone carrier NTT Docomo Inc.’s Docomo Koza e-money service.

The two have denied the charges, according to investigative sources.

A mastermind behind the students, both in their 20s, allegedly created Docomo Koza accounts using free email addresses and connected them with other people’s bank accounts.

The two students are suspected of conspiring with somebody to create Docomo Koza accounts in the names of a man and a woman in their 30s to 40s in Okayama Prefecture in August and September last year, and transferring a total of some ¥700,000 into the Docomo Koza accounts from the Okayama residents’ accounts in Chugoku Bank.

According to the Metropolitan Police Department’s cybercrime section, the suspects are believed to have purchased heat-and-burn tobacco products and tablet devices, worth a total of some ¥4.5 million after the money transfers, using a settlement service of NTT Docomo.

In Tokyo, about ¥7.9 million has been fraudulently withdrawn from some 30 deposit accounts of multiple banks. The MPD believes that people other than the two students have been involved in the withdrawals, sources said.

Also Tuesday, a joint investigation team comprising officers from the police departments of 11 prefectures including Saitama arrested three people from China for allegedly buying products using fraudulently obtained money related to the Docomo Koza hacks, according to investigative sources.

The joint team will continue investigations under the suspicion that such cases may have been carried out by a scam group.

According to the sources, the three are suspected of buying 66 cartons of heat-not-burn tobacco products, worth some ¥340,000, and two tablet devices, worth some ¥100,000, using Docomo Koza accounts with money stolen from other people. The purchases happened at convenience stores in Tokorozawa and Yashio in Saitama and an electronics retail store in Tokyo’s Toshima Ward in August and September last year.

Fraudulent money withdrawals using the e-money service have been confirmed across the country since September last year.

A total of some ¥28.85 million was confirmed to have been stolen in 128 cases, according to NTT Docomo, a subsidiary of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp.

After a series of fraudulent withdrawals came to light, NTT Docomo stopped newly connecting Docomo Koza accounts with bank accounts.

It has been boosting security measures, such as introducing biometric authentication for identity verification.

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