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Prosecutors seek 12 years for Pink Panther thief over Ginza heist


The trial of a suspected member of the Pink Panther ring of jewel thieves began Wednesday at the Tokyo District Court with prosecutors seeking a 12-year jail sentence for the man for his part in a 2 billion yen jewel robbery at a Ginza store in 2007.

Rifat Hadziahmetovic, 43, a citizen of Montenegro, was extradited to Japan from Spain last year. He was arrested in Cyprus last year on a separate charge of trying to leave the island using a fake passport. He was later extradited to Spain over a 2008 robbery on the Spanish island of Tenerife. The Spanish government agreed to hand him over to Japan.

Hadziahmetovic is suspected of snatching the tiara and necklace from a Ginza store after spraying a worker with mace.

The Pink Panthers, named after the 1963 movie starring Peter Sellers as the bumbling Inspector Clouseau, are believed to be mainly from countries in the Balkans. The gang is believed to have more than 200 members and is characterized by swift robberies lasting less than three minutes, according to Interpol.

The gang is known for the creativity of its heists and has used bicycles to escape from a robbery in the dense traffic of Tokyo and a fast motorboat in southern France.

After one robbery in London, the gang hid a diamond ring worth $1.28 million in a pot of face cream. That earned the gang its name, since a similar tactic was used in the film "The Pink Panther."

They are the prime suspects in a series of jewel thefts worth more than $150 million over the past decade in Europe, Asia and the Persian Gulf.

Some Pink Panther members have already been caught but others are still at large. Hadziahmetovic is suspected of participating in other armed robberies in Bahrain, Japan and the United Arab Emirates.

The Pink Panther members are also suspected in a 2004 Tokyo jewelry heist.

A verdict will be handed down on Hadziahmetovic on Sept 28.

© AP

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

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More than some people get for murder in this country, why is it you get more of a sentence when money is involved?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

gogogo - Because they put a monetary value on life. I would hate to be in Japanese prision as a gaijin.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

More than some people get for murder in this country

I remember well, many years ago a man got seven years for stealing and selling a plastic Peko-chan mascot. Also as gogogo put it, child murderer parents get away with 4 years.

Let's see.

Murder 4 years. Peko-chan 7 years. Ginza 2 billion yen jewel robbery 12 years.

That speaks for itself.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Like the Peko-chan case, the probably justify it as time for each separate charge. Murder is just one charge. Robbery combined with assault on someone with mace is two charges. And there might be more, not that I support this sort of thinking in the slightest.

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This fella will be "In The Wind" within a year ,sending post-cards to the authorities from somewhere with a nice,balmy breeze and No extradition!

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Seems like this Hadziahmetovic bloke fancied himself as a George Clooney type in Oceans 11. Epic Fail, Bro.

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I bet the court officials pause and stumble over pronouncing this guys name every time they have to say it. For efficiency they should just refer to him as Dorobo san.

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He's 43. Even if he gets the 12 years being asked by the prosecution, he'll be out in 6 or 8 years. It seems from the article that he has had a share in numerous big robberies, from which the goods have not been recovered. So, he will have a reasonable retirement plan set up, presumably. And I wouldn't think he would have too much trouble in prison, gaijin or not, since he is no doubt well connected.

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