Japanese ‘Yakuza member’ arrested in Thailand over US$700,000 internet scam

Photo: Sanook
Photo: Sanook

A Japanese man, said to be a member of Yamakuchi, the largest Yakuza network in Japan, was arrested on fraud charges last week, a fact Thai police revealed to the public yesterday.

Immigration Police apprehended 36-year-old Tokyo native Tatsuka Tanaka at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport on June 22 as he attempted to board a flight to Cambodia.

Police were acting on a Blue notice from Interpol when it arrested the man, who’s believed to have been that leader of a fraud ring in his home country that swindled 83 persons out of JPY80 million (THB24 million or US$724,000), Thairath reported.

Tanaka, and five other members of his gang, allegedly claimed to be representatives of web portal Yahoo, telling victims they were liable for unpaid fees in connection with the use of various internet sites, said Pol. Lt. Songprot Sirisukka, commander of Chonburi Immigration.

The suspects would then instruct the victims to pay them off in Amazon gift cards, police said.

After receiving a lead that Takana was leaving Thailand via Suvarnabhumi Airport, they arrested him at the checkpoint. Police said Tanaka’s passport has records of numerous entries into Thailand, and that he frequently stayed in Pattaya.

The Japanese police have already arrested the rest of Tanaka’s gang, and Tanaka himself will now be deported.

In February, another member of the Yamaguchi gang wanted for murder was arrested in the rural province of Lopburi, after a local teenager shared photos of the man’s impressive tattoos on Facebook, drawing the attention of Japanese authorities.

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