Police officers investigate a vehicle in a parking lot where around 380 million yen in cash was allegedly robbed from a man in Fukuoka on Thursday. Photo: Kyodo

Victim's activities likely known to robbers in Y384 mil cash heist


Men who allegedly robbed 384 million yen ($3.5 million) from a Tokyo gold buyer in Fukuoka city on Thursday may have known his activities ahead of time and thoroughly planned the heist, investigative sources said Friday.

The robbers parked their van in the same parking lot where the victim had left his rental car before ambushing him there and absconding with the money he had just withdrawn from a nearby bank in the southwestern Japan city.

The victim, a 29-year-old employee of a precious metals shop in Tokyo, had arrived in Fukuoka on Tuesday to buy gold bullion, according to police. He has frequently visited Fukuoka on business trips, and his employer has regularly used Mizuho Bank, from which he withdrew the money on Thursday, the sources said.

Four South Koreans carrying a large amount of money were stopped at Fukuoka Airport following the heist and questioned by police for an alleged connection to the robbery, but investigators believe their involvement in the case is unlikely.

They were arrested Friday for allegedly trying to take about 730 million yen out of the country without permission from customs authorities.

The 42-year-old president of a Seoul firm told Kyodo News on Friday that the men held by the police are employees of the South Korean company and denied they were involved in the heist. He said they were carrying money they had received from a Japanese person to buy vehicles.

The heist, the fourth-largest in postwar Japan in terms of the amount stolen, occurred at around 12:25 p.m. Thursday in the parking lot across the street from Mizuho Bank's Fukuoka branch in the Tenjin district.

Two men sprayed the victim with a substance and snatched a carry-on bag containing the cash as he returned to his vehicle from the bank. They fled in a white van, likely driven by another person, according to the police.

Neither the van nor the bag has been found. The victim suffered minor injuries to his face and throat, they said.

The police have identified the van's license plate number through security camera footage, but the plate seems to have been a stolen one, the investigative sources said.

The number was registered by a man living in Fukuoka City, but the man's car was different from the van and did not have the license plate. The sources said the man is unlikely to be related to the case, they said.

In Fukuoka last July, gold bars worth around 600 million yen were stolen near JR Hakata Station in the city while being transported to a cash-for-gold store.

In Tokyo, meanwhile, a man called police on Friday afternoon saying he was robbed of a bag that had about 40 million yen inside in the Ginza shopping district, the police said.

The man told the police that a person suddenly dashed toward him from behind and took his bag. The person then got on the backseat of a motor scooter that was parked several dozen meters ahead and took off with the driver.

The man was in Ginza for a business deal and had a total of 72 million yen with him, part of which was robbed, according to the police.


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Never heard of a check or bank transfer? It does not excuse the thieves, but what person in their right mind withdraws and carries around that kind of cash?

Oh right....heiwa boke Japanese gold buyer.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

All that pachinko money lost. Inside bank job for sure.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Amazing stupidity on part of the victim. I guess the guy who set up the "deal" was in cahoots with the robbers.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

So despite the fact that these are still just suspects, given the anti Korean stance in japan, why in the world would the news slide ones Korean nationality in there? Talk about fanning the flames!!

3 ( +5 / -2 )

The money should be easily traced because the bank would have recorded the serial number of every note. Right?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

IThis is unreal. The story read to me. That on the same day you have two different people walking around the city with mega cash and no sercurity. Yes this sounds very much to do with gold the men at the airport. The other a robbery, I wonder if they were heading to Hong Kong ,Macau.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Why would anyone withdraw ¥348 million?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

@zichi in japan, i sometimes are required to carry large amounts of money in cash. but i also have security measures that i dont want to tell. this news story smells of something. this area is next to kita kyushu. i think we all know about some people from there.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

zichi Today 09:50 am JST

Why would anyone withdraw ¥348 million?

For example, at a land deal or a gold deal, if the seller demands cash and refuses any other instrument such as check, fund transfer, or credit card, the buyer must pay by cash.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Crazy stuff. Japanese have a tradition of carrying cash even for deals. I worked at a law office on a real estate transaction in Osaka and lady carries in a brown paper bag for 10 million yen cash,,, I would be scared crapless to hold that much money...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

When I bought land here, I had to pay in cash. It's not unusual in Japan for land or 'others' to be paid for in cash in Japan. Hope the company gets its money back --if it is legitimate.

Agreed, definitely an inside job.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If you fly into Korea, you have to declare any large sums of cash over 10,000 USD(?). There seems to be a fear there that such money will be channelled north to DPRK.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Dear's ca'rrying to money for business purposes now situation  very critical not now only great japan whole worldwide Robbery like that now much more safety  only digital Transactions are safe and bank to bank,bank to other business concerns for digital  Transactions is more safety and peaceful life.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

may have known his activities ahead of time and thoroughly planned the heist

noooooo, you don't say

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I want to know more about the other guys with large sums of money.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Men who allegedly robbed 384 million yen ($3.5 million) from a Tokyo gold buyer in Fukuoka city on Thursday may have known his activities ahead of time and thoroughly planned the heist, investigative sources said Friday.

And on the eighth day the Lord created credit cards and saw that it was good.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Born yesterday springs to mind...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

An employee carrying around that amount of cash regularly? you're asking for trouble

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The Ginza story story is even harder to believe. The guy said that shen he exited the building a man, who he didn't know came from behind and suddenly attacked him. Of course the guy knew who he was, how else would he know to target him!

As for Fukuoka, they said on the news that most gold purchases are done in cash, so as to avoid paying tax. So as stupid as it sounds, I guess it is possible. My question, are there no gold dealers in Tokyo? Why travel to all the eay to Fukuoka? And how was the gold going to be carried back to Tokyo? Not in his little carry on back!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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