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BI successfully deports two Japanese members of ‘Luffy’ gang

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TWO Japanese nationals tagged as members of the notorious ‘Luffy’ gang were deported by the Bureau of Immigration (BI).

BI Commissioner Norman Tansingco announced the deportation, which he described as “a significant achievement in our efforts to disrupt criminal networks victimizing unsuspecting individuals.

“This successful deportation is a testament to the collaborative partnership and good relationship between the Philippines and Japan. We will not allow our country to be used as a hiding ground for criminals and syndicates,” he said.

BI spokesperson Dana Sandoval and deputy spokesperson Melvin Mabulac presented the two to the media prior to their deportation. They were identified as Sugano Kazushi and Shimoeda Saito.

Deported Luffy gang members
BI spokesperson Dana Sandoval (seated, left) and deputy spokesperson Melvin Mabulac present the two ‘Luffy Gang’ members who were deported.

Sandoval said the two were deported morning of March 26, 2024 and boarded a Japan Airlines flight to Tokyo.

Kazushi and Saito were deported for being undesirable aliens after the Japanese government tagged them as fugitives from justice for reportedly working as fraudulent callers for a criminal group victimizing his compatriots.

They were said to be the subject of an arrest warrant issued by the Tokyo Summary Court for being part of a large-scale telecom fraud group.

The BI said it has reason to believe that both may be part of the infamous ‘Luffy’ group, which allegedly committed a string of violent crimes in Japan.

The two have been hiding in the Philippines since 2019 and a manhunt was conducted against them and their cohorts after official communication was received from the Japanese government in February 2023 informing of their criminal status.

Shimoeda Saito made headlines last November 16, 2023 after being intercepted at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 while he was attempting to flee the country on a Cebu Pacific flight bound for Nagoya, Japan.

Upon knowing that he was being arrested, he resorted to alarming tactics, intentionally bumping his head on the immigration counter and feigning distress.

Itchie G. Cabayan
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