Police in Hyogo Prefecture, Japan recently announced the arrest of three Vietnamese men suspected to be members of an ‘international romance scam’ group that defrauded victims by pretending to be foreign military officers and doctors.
The three arrested men are Do Gong Son, an unemployed 33-year-old; Nguyen Thanh Thanh, a 23-year-old student; and Nguyen Viet Lam, an unemployed 26-year-old, Japan’s Sankei newspaper reported on Wednesday.
They are being investigated on suspicion of participating in an ‘international romance scam’ group whose members pretend to be in relationships with victims on social networking sites in order to scam them.
The arrest took place on November 14 and police said all three admitted to their charges.
Police raided the three Vietnamese nationals' apartment the same day, seizing about 10 million yen (US$71,430) in cash and about 80 cash cards.
From September 14 to November 8, the trio withdrew about 860,000 yen ($615), which they had defrauded the victims of, at supermarket ATMs in Chiba Prefecture and Tokyo’s Edogawa area, police said.
A man in his 60s was also among the victims of the scam group, according to Hyogo prefectural police.
He received a text message via social media from a woman claiming to be a U.S. military doctor in Yemen.
The woman said that she wanted to relocate to Japan and needed money for retirement.
She successfully scammed the 60-year-old Japanese man out of 5 million yen ($35,713).
Part of this amount has been recovered.
The total monetary damage in the scam is estimated to exceed 100 million yen ($714,165).