crime

Vietnamese man released after being wrongfully arrested for assault in Tokyo

49 Comments

The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) has revealed that a Vietnamese man in his 30s was wrongfully arrested on suspicion of assault on Sunday, before confirming his identity with the victim and an eyewitness.

According to the MPD, police received a call at around 8:45 p.m. on Sunday, in which the caller stated that a foreigner was being rough with his friend who had admonished him for being loud on a street in Nishi-Ikebukuro in Toshima Ward, Sankei Shimbun reported. Two police officers went to the scene and arrested a Vietnamese man nearby at around 9:10 p.m., based on a general description given to them by the victim and his friend. The Vietnamese man denied any involvement in the incident.

At the police station, the caller and his friend, both in their 50s, were asked to confirm if the Vietnamese man was the person in question. However, they said it was not the same person. The Vietnamese man was released around 11:45 p.m. on Sunday.

According to the MPD, officers at the scene failed to get a proper description of the suspect from the victim or the witness. Moreover, they did not take the time to check footage from security cameras in the vicinity.

Takahito Matsushima, the General Affairs Division’s department chief, said in a statement: “We hope to thoroughly instruct and educate our officers to prevent a reoccurrence of such an incident.”

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49 Comments
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Two police officers went to the scene and arrested a Vietnamese man [...] based on a general description given to them by the victim and his friend.

Oh, please no. That's profiling someone. So If I call and say. "A man in his 30s with glasses attacked me", I wonder, will police arrest the first 30s-looking man with glasses?

Takahito Matsushima, the General Affairs Division’s department chief, said in a statement: “We hope to thoroughly instruct and educate our officers to prevent a reoccurrence of such an incident.”

Yes please, educate the officers, because that's one of the utmost mistakes a cop could do.

21 ( +38 / -17 )

Oh, you know ... we all look alike. Besides, all foreigners are criminals, so may as well arrest one than another.

20 ( +41 / -21 )

Doesn't seem like a big deal. I expect incidents like this are commonplace in Kabukicho and other seedy areas daily but dont make the news because the people involved aren't gaijin.

Moreover, they did not take the time to check footage from security cameras...

Which would have given the real attacker even more time to leave the area and escape arrest. The cops needed to act fast.

-16 ( +10 / -26 )

The Vietnamese man denied any involvement in the incident.

Of course he denied, why he need to confess something that he didn't do?

Two police officers went to the scene and arrested a Vietnamese man nearby at around 9:10 p.m., based on a general description given to them by the victim and his friend. The Vietnamese man denied any involvement in the incident.

Foreigners as description alone can be used for base for an arrest? Without further description, like caucassian, south asia, african etc? That's really terrifying.

Not that hard to find foreigners in Ikebukuro and so many of them, not as many like Shibuya. So any foreigners in that street have chance to be arrested.

The Vietnamese man was released around 11:45 p.m. on Sunday.

I hope he can manage to get his last train to his home. Also it is a surprise they didn't force him to confess, not enough time?

The General Affairs Division’s department chief, said in a statement: “We hope to thoroughly instruct and educate our officers to prevent a re-occurrence of such an incident.

Which officer? Only officer in that district? What about other officer in other area in all Japan, will they refrain doing similar things in the future

5 ( +19 / -14 )

the caller and his friend, both in their 50s, were asked to confirm if the Vietnamese man was the person in question. However, they said it was not the same person.

Thankfully the real criminal have distinct look that can set apart from innocent foreigner, however some foreigner not that easy to recognize like people from south asia or caucassian with certain beard which can be common. If that caller having difficulty in recognizing which one which, that poor innocent person can spend a night or several days in detention.

2 ( +12 / -10 )

The man should sue the Police.

15 ( +32 / -17 )

There are a lot of foreigners in Ikebukuro. Most are Chinese. I’m white and I still get stopped by police asking to do a “weapons check” almost weekly. It’s frustrating but I just learned to not argue because that makes things more quickly.

5 ( +16 / -11 )

Not just racist, totally incompetent at their job as well. If that is the level of investigative competence of Japanese police, no wonder they need to force “confessions” out of everyone they hold!

8 ( +21 / -13 )

On top of the obvious racism involved maybe the two instigators who told a complete stranger to shut up because he was being too loud in red light drinking district should have minded their own business!

The innocent victim is lucky he got out so quickly usually he'd be given the choice of admit guilt or rot in detention until you do...!!!

-1 ( +14 / -15 )

The competence goes further than the Police. If he had have been detained for 72 hours, he would have appeared before one of Japans imbecile judges, who, without any evidence would have rubber stamped his incarceration for 10 days.

5 ( +17 / -12 )

I agree with all the posters above. Racist and incompetent. But seeing how these are J-cops, unfortunately I am not surprised.

5 ( +22 / -17 )

Very disturb news indeed but not surprising at all.

This racially profile visible minorities from the Japanese police force is enduring from a while and many reports of abuse and violation of human rights have been reported.

-1 ( +13 / -14 )

Takahito Matsushima, the General Affairs Division’s department chief, said in a statement: “We hope to thoroughly instruct and educate our officers to prevent a reoccurrence of such an incident.”

I'll believe it when that happens. What's more important? Justice for the people or keeping Japan's 99.9% conviction rate? Good thing there were witnesses who confirmed the police mistake. Compensation is in order, or at least a sincere apology.

2 ( +11 / -9 )

As an insider, the Japanese police are incompetent at their jobs. This Vietnamese gentlemen has a very good case against the Japanese police.

-3 ( +11 / -14 )

so guy is free again...and thats all?

nopuroburemu???

-2 ( +10 / -12 )

Profiling? Nice.

I believe the US embassy is putting together a dossier on profiling, for those affected by it.

4 ( +11 / -7 )

Scary to think that if it wasn't straightened out with the eyewitnesses, this poor guy could have been locked up for 21 days until he confessed. Then god knows what would have happened to him. His family, if he has one, and life, totally destroyed.

Close call.

10 ( +17 / -7 )

Today 07:24 am JST

Moreover, they did not take the time to check footage from security cameras...

Which would have given the real attacker even more time to leave the area and escape arrest. The cops needed to act fast.

Uhh....the two hours that they held the wrong guy while likely not continuing their search for the real attacker, did in fact give the actual perp plenty of time to escape.

The cops "acting fast" was the reason the actual perp got away.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

If there's one thing cops in Japan excel in, it's racial profiling. I'd suggest they go through rigorous sensitivity training but I don't think their superiors even know what that is. This poor man got lucky. He should seek compensation for emotional damages incurred.

-2 ( +9 / -11 )

 it's racial profiling. I'd suggest they go through rigorous sensitivity training but I don't think their superiors even know what that is

Even an embassy in Tokyo already issued an alert about racial profiling.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2021/12/06/national/crime-legal/us-embassy-racial-profiling-police/

https://twitter.com/acstokyo/status/1467629914857816065

2 ( +7 / -5 )

@Michael Machida

As an insider

Insider? Are you police? 

@nopuroburemu???

so guy is free again...and thats all?

Call was made 8:45 p.m, he was arrested 9.10 p.m. Only took less than one hour to arrest him. That's quick, when they let him go? 11:45 p.m. took them more than two hours, to let him go. It's easier to arrest someone then to let someone go, that's happen only after a witness testified is not him. 

What can happen if that witness mistaken, even it's not necessary that Vietnamese guy the real criminal but he happened to look alike, especially it was night with less light. In that case he can spend weeks in detention until he confessed. 

They only arrest him for several hours is that it? Other routines things happened, he'll be searched from head to toes, for anything illegal items. All his ID will be checked, his residency status will verified. He'll be asking many personal questions, that really unrelated why he being arrested. Perhaps some a mug shot too?

-4 ( +7 / -11 )

With a 99.4% conviction rate, it's a miracle he got out at all.

0 ( +12 / -12 )

It's a case like this that tars all police with the same brush. There are thousands of good, decent, professional police out there too

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

"So, what did the perp look like, sir? " "He was a gaijin."

"OK. We'll go and get him immediately.'

At least they didn't arrest a female foreigner. Progress? Not Apology coming? Not

-6 ( +7 / -13 )

I’m white and I still get stopped by police asking to do a “weapons check” almost weekly.

is this true? I don’t live in Tokyo, but I’ve been stopped once in almost two decades and I told them to stop bothering me. Is Tokyo really that hostile to foreigners. I never carry ID, except health-card and JAF card.

Tokyo seems not a place for “white” people.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

RodneyToday  01:25 pm JST

I’m white and I still get stopped by police asking to do a “weapons check” almost weekly.

is this true? I don’t live in Tokyo, but I’ve been stopped once in almost two decades and I told them to stop bothering me. Is Tokyo really that hostile to foreigners. I never carry ID, except health-card and JAF card.

Same, in 15 years of living in Tokyo I was never stopped by police. No, Tokyo, and Japan, is generally most definitely friendly to Caucasians, unless you want certain accommodation. :)

Tokyo seems not a place for “white” people.

What does that mean?!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The thing about Japanese law is that if the police was able to force a confession, he would be still in jail and likely heading to prison, as confessions are able to override any evidence. Good thing he held firm.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

There are thousands of good, decent, professional police out there too

Japanese police have a sampai/kohai system. It involves bullying. (If you look at their badge, there are three stars. Gold and silver.) Silver one star ones have to either work in the countryside, or buy coffee or clean toilets for gold star ones. It is hard to get to gold star. But if they survive, some maybe can become bullies. Repeat.

but Japan is a safe country.

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

@Takahito Matsushima, the General Affairs Division’s department chief, said in a statement: “We hope to thoroughly instruct and educate our officers to prevent a reoccurrence of such an incident.”

Why don’t you apologise in the same breath? It would go a long way.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

That men is very strong.

21 days of solitary confinement and endless interrogations without lawyer can break most.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Racism.

From the people making the report, to the police. Racism.

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

"We hope to thoroughly instruct and educate our officers to prevent a reoccurrence of such an incident.”

Love it! Not, "We will", or even, "We'll do our best to", just a hope... like one hopes to retire with a large pension someday in the distant future if the age of retirement here is only raised to 75, or one hopes the police will not engage in any racial profiling. Or heck, even how one might hope to win the lottery. And I didn't see any apology or expression of regret anywhere.

-6 ( +6 / -12 )

GaijinjlandToday  07:54 am JST

I’m white and I still get stopped by police asking to do a “weapons check” almost weekly.

You must look suspicious as heck. lol

3 ( +6 / -3 )

What can happen if that witness mistaken, even it's not necessary that Vietnamese guy the real criminal but he happened to look alike, especially it was night with less light. In that case he can spend weeks in detention until he confessed. 

Witnesses( the caller and his friend) did make mistake by pointing to the wrong guy at the (crime) scene informing the police " That Guy" .

Also they ( witnesses) had already told police " the foreigner" . How could you folks always make knee-jerk reactions as if it is racism

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

"We hope to thoroughly instruct and educate our officers to prevent a reoccurrence of such an incident.”

Love it! Not, "We will", or even, "We'll do our best to", just a hope... like one hopes to retire with a large pension someday in the distant future if the age of retirement here is only raised to 75, or one hopes the police will not engage in any racial profiling. Or heck, even how one might hope to win the lottery. And I didn't see any apology or expression of regret anywhere.

He didn't say "We hope". More like " We will" or "We do our best"

From Asahi

警視庁の松島隆仁・組織犯罪対策総務課長は「客観的な証拠を確認することなく特定していた。再発防止に向けて、捜査員に対する指導教養をしっかり徹底していきたい」と述べた。

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

What type of detective doesn't check the surveillance footage ?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

on Sunday, in which the caller stated that a foreigner was being rough with his friend

sounds like a VERY specific description………

officers at the scene failed to get a proper description of the suspect from the victim or the witness.

oh REALLY? How shocking……….

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

JeffLeeMar. 23  07:24 am JST Doesn't seem like a big deal. I expect incidents like this are commonplace in Kabukicho and other seedy areas daily but dont make the news because the people involved aren't gaijin.

Not this time, fortunatley. However, this could easily have escalated to where the man ended up spending some time in jail, losing his job, potentially his visa and getting deported. What might not seem like a big deal would be terrifying to many while waiting for the situation to resolve itself.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

When Japan treats residents as equal to citizens then it will be in the running to being an advanced country; only then...

-2 ( +8 / -10 )

When Japan treats residents as equal to citizens then it will be in the running to being an advanced country; only then...

THIS!!! THIS!!! Hear! Hear!

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

I’m white and I still get stopped by police asking to do a “weapons check” almost weekly.

You must look suspicious as heck. lol"

Yeah....not looking Japanese makes you instantly more suspicious. Glad you find that amusing.

Even an embassy in Tokyo already issued an alert about racial profiling."

Yep.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Guy was lucky.. that he was not forced a “confession”.

hope this guy can sue them for unrepairable long lasting psychological damage..

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

@Gaijinland

I’m white and I still get stopped by police asking to do a “weapons check” almost weekly. 

Your experience seems to be remarkably exceptional.

Have you considered that the police’s unusually persistent interest in you might be based on some mutable aspect of yourself (your attitude, behaviour, or demeanour, for instance), and not on the colour of your skin?

TT

0 ( +3 / -3 )

When Japan treats residents as equal to citizens then it will be in the running to being an advanced country; only then...

Yeah, when foreign residents accept equal responsibilities as citizens

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Yeah, when foreign residents accept equal responsibilities as citizens

Such as?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Yeah, when foreign residents accept equal responsibilities as citizens

Do foreign residents have different responsibilities?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Foreigners aren't equal residents. Why should the Japanese treat them as such? And the idea that it would only be an "advanced" nation if the foreigners are treated as equal only means that there are no "advanced" nations on the planet - NO country treats its foreign residents as equal to the citizens.

When Japan treats residents as equal to citizens then it will be in the running to being an advanced country; only then...

What a silly claim. Not one made by anyone who has much of an understand as to how the world works.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

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