Two cab drivers were slightly injured in assaults early Tuesday in Osaka Prefecture but the incidents are not believed to be related to two recent taxi holdups in the western Japan prefecture in which one driver was killed and another seriously injured, police said.
Police arrested temp worker Masahito Sawamura, 23, for attacking a 53-year-old cab driver with a box cutter in Neyagawa and Haruki Kyo, 24, a newspaper deliveryman, over a knife attack on a 33-year-old driver in Takatsuki.
Kyo allegedly stabbed the driver in the neck with a fruit knife when the car he rode was stopped on the streets of Takatsuki at about 3:15 a.m. Tuesday. After assaulting the driver, Kyo fled the scene without paying a fare of about 2,600 yen. He was arrested later Tuesday as police found his identify from the credit card he left on the scene.
Kyo was quoted as saying he tried to rob a taxi driver of money to finance part of his debt. He was found to have debt worth about 2 million yen.
In the Neyagawa case, Sawamura threatened to hurt the driver with his cutter when the taxi was stopped on the streets of the city at about 1:45 a.m. Tuesday.
The driver subdued Sawamura as he tried to leave the scene without paying a fare. But in the fighting, the driver sustained a minor injury in his hand.
Sawamura was quoted as saying, ''I tried to leave the taxi without paying a fare as I forgot a purse.''
Police believe the two incidents are not related to the earlier cases in Osaka due to differences in the descriptions of the possible perpetrator in those incidents and the suspects in Tuesday's cases.
In the earlier cases, a 67-year-old taxi driver was found murdered and robbed of his proceeds in Higashiosaka on Dec 29, while a 61-year-old taxi driver was slashed in the neck and robbed of around 25,000 yen in Matsubara on Monday.
The series of taxi holdups has prompted the police to intensify security, they said.
In neighboring Hyogo Prefecture, a 54-year-old taxi driver was found dead in a parking lot with stab wounds to the neck on Dec 29. The proceeds were missing from his cab.
Meanwhile, a 19-year-old man was arrested on Monday on suspicion of robbing a taxi driver in Matsudo City early Monday morning.
The suspect, a wrecking yard employee and resident of Kashiwa City, is accused of putting a knife to a 66-year-old tax driver at around 1.20 a.m. Monday, and telling him: “Get out if you don’t want to be stabbed.” Police said the suspect then drove off in the taxi which had roughly 44,000 yen inside at the time.
The man has admitted to the allegation and told police he had debts and needed money. Police said the taxi driver was not injured, and they found the taxi in a car park near JR Matsudo station on Monday afternoon.© Wire reports