Japan arrests three Vietnamese nationals after massive shoplifting haul

A shopper (L) checks items inside a shoes shop in Tokyo, Japan. Photo by Reuters/Issei Kato

Japanese police have arrested three Vietnamese nationals after discovering 1,700 stolen items in a house in Saitama Prefecture.

The three arrested persons are all unemployed. One of them has been identified as Pham Trong Ha, 26, Japan’s Sankei newspaper reported on Monday.

Police from Ishikawa Prefecture busted the trio following the discovery of the 1,700 shoplifted items, about 300 of which were medicines and cosmetics, in Ha’s house in Kawaguchi City, Saitama Prefecture.

The goods are suspected to have been shoplifted by several Vietnamese groups before being stored in Ha’s house, from where they would be shipped to Vietnam for sale.

Ha’s criminal activities were uncovered following statements by another unnamed Vietnamese shoplifter that Ishikawa Prefecture Police had arrested in May, the Sankei report said.

Ha has confessed to knowing that the items stored in his house were most likely stolen goods.

Vietnamese expats in Japan have committed more crimes than any other foreign non-permanent residents living in the country last year, according to Kyodo News.

Police recorded 5,140 crimes committed by Vietnamese people in 2017, up from 3,177 the year before, accounting for 30.2 percent of the total number of crimes committed by foreign nationals.

Shoplifting was the dominant crime, with 2,037 cases, while burglary jumped to 325 in 2017 from just 12 the previous year.

Vietnamese have surpassed Brazilians to become the fourth biggest minority group in Japan after the number of non-permanent residents in the country grew more than six-fold between 2008 and 2017, when it reached about 260,000 – Vnexpress reported.