ANN/THE NATION THAILAND – Police are probing possible yakuza criminal operations in Thailand after charging five Japanese nationals with operating a call centre scam in Bangkok.
The five men have been charged on seven counts including imprisoning a victim, said Kannayao police chief Colonel Naren Kruengsanook.
The case has been under the media spotlight since Sunday, when police and Japanese Embassy officials raided a residence in Bangkok’s Bang Khen district.
The raid was launched after a Japanese man managed to escape from the residence and alert his embassy.
The alleged victim said he travelled to Thailand on December 8 after the gang offered him a job in Bangkok.
Police arrested Kawabata Kotaro, Hirota Junya, Naramura Kenji, Tomonari Satoshi and Suzuki Takafumi and initially charged them with imprisoning a fellow Japanese national.
Six more charges followed, namely international criminal activity, human trafficking, threats, imprisonment, racketeering, confiscating a person’s documents, and failing to notify authorities about relocation of residence.
Colonel Naren said Kotaro, 39, has tattoos consistent with membership of a Japanese yakuza criminal network. Police are now investigating whether he is connected to other international crime activities in Thailand.