Heatsticks are cigarettes modified for use in electronic devices. Photo: Pakutaso
crime

567 cartons of cigarettes bought with 120 smartphones leads to man's arrest

6 Comments
By SoraNews24

A 24-year-old man walked into a convenience store in Fuanbashi City, Chiba Prefecture, on Sept 30, with a cardboard box full of 120 smartphones. He then asked the clerk to ring up carton after carton of heatsticks and cigarettes using the d-Harai app installed on each phone.

The entire shopping spree ran from about 5:45 a.m. to 6:55 a.m. However, a police officer happened to walk into the store just as he was using his 100th or so phone. At that moment he decided to settle up and tried to discreetly exit the store with his 567 cartons valued at about 3 million yen (and case of smartphones, but failed and was arrested.

As a result, on Oct 14, the suspect, Vietnamese national Doan Phi Chan, was charged with fraud over the misuse of the d-Harai app. According to the investigation, Doan bought the phones over social media, but before finalizing the sale, requested that each seller install the d-Harai app.

The details of exactly who he was defrauding and how he was going about it aren’t clear. Reporting of the crime is probably being left vague to avoid copycat attempts.

The d-Harai app is the cashless payment system set up by telecom giant Docomo, but has been in the spotlight recently for security vulnerabilities, so he may have stolen funds from previous users or may even have been simply exploiting first-time user discounts by pretending to be other people, then profiting further on the resale of the cigarettes and phones.

It’s hard to imagine him concocting anything remotely resembling a brilliant scheme by himself, however, given how boneheaded the execution of said fraud ultimately was. Readers of the news were also unsure what Doan must have been thinking when he walked into the store with his heavy crate of smartphones.

“Way too conspicuous.”

“That’s the most suspicion-raising way to commit fraud I have ever seen.”

“He might as well have just hung all the smartphones all over his body.”

“I feel like the clerk is complicit in this for not stopping him.”

“Did he want to get arrested?”

“I had no idea one store carried that many cigarettes!”

“Why not just do it one by one at different stores?”

“The store’s staff has got to be in on this too.”

“Seems too convenient the cop walked in at just that moment. I wonder if the clerk hit a silent alarm around the 200th carton.”

“Anytime you see someone walk into a store with a large cardboard box full of smartphones, you can assume a crime has happened or is about to happen.”

According to the ANN report above, Doan admitted that he did it “for the money,” and authorities are currently looking into whether organized crime is involved.

Source: The Sankei News, TBS News, Chiba Nippo, Itai News

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Store employee uses barcode scanner to defeat knife-wielding robber

-- Saitama senior arrested after calling telecom provider 24,000 times to complain

-- Tokyo clerk arrested for memorizing over 1,300 customers’ credit card info, using it online

© SoraNews24

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

6 Comments
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What a curious story! A carton of fags costs about 5,500 yen, and he used about 100 phones to buy 567 cartons, so he was buying about 5-6 cartons per phone, which is the best part of 30,000 yens worth per blower. All of the phones presumably had to be connected to a network or on wifi. I presume he was gonna sell the goods out of the back of his tuktuk or something.

And even after writing that I still have no idea how this all worked.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Whoever was working the register that night must have been complicit to this crime. There's no way anyone with even half a brain in their head would not become suspicious of this behavior...good grief.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@ooly, not everyone likes their job nor want to play police and manage other people lives. Some just work, get paid, go home and do the same thing the next day. What a client does is none of their concern. Even if the worker get suspicious, it's not demanded of him to report it. It is possible they might have call in the police just in case but most shops workers normally ignore it and wouldn't not report these kind of things. Especially part-time workers. Some even prefer to avoid the trouble by ignoring it.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I dont understand this. Aren´t the smartphones more expensive than the cigs? And how does does "installing the app" allow him to use it without registering on it?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I dont understand this. Aren´t the smartphones more expensive than the cigs? And how does does "installing the app" allow him to use it without registering on it?

It says he picked them up on social media, probably basic model 2nd hand phones. And he was probably raking in 3 man from each one. Can't answer your second question though, I have no idea how the d-Harai thing works.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The details of exactly who he was defrauding and how he was going about it aren’t clear. Reporting of the crime is probably being left vague to avoid copycat attempts.

Basically "we don't understand it, so it must be a crime! And a foreigner is doing it, so it MUST be a crime!"

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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