Japanese police have arrested six Vietnamese nationals on suspicion of growing cannabis in a series of abandoned warehouses in Hyogo Prefecture, Asahi Shimbun reported Monday.
The suspects included men and women who are under investigation for violating the Cannabis Control Act, the newspaper reported.
Police confiscated 1,300 cannabis plants from a variety of locations, including abandoned warehouses in Hyogo’s Kasai and Himeji cities.
The police also seized lighting equipment from the grow houses.
The names and details of the Vietnamese nationals were not released.
It was the largest cannabis seizure in Japanese history.
Growing ‘weed’ is rather popular among Vietnamese criminals in the UK and other European country, but it is perhaps the first time such operation has been busted in Japan.
Earlier this month, Nippon TV reported four Vietnamese nationals were arrested on suspicion of stealing cosmetics from shops in Kagawa Prefecture.
In the clip, a Vietnamese man identified as Do Trung was arrested by police at Kagawa’s Sakaide City while attempting to flee.
Trung and five other Vietnamese had been under police surveillance from December 2013 to January 2014 for allegedly stealing cosmetics and food supplement products from various drug stores in Muragame and Mitoyo cities.
The stolen goods were estimated to be worth 188,000 yen (US$1,846).
The shoplifting ring is accused of smuggling the stolen goods to Vietnam with the assistance of Vietnam Airlines flight attendants.
One flight attendant was arrested last month while in Japan, but was released April 14 for lack of evidence. Japanese authorities have asked the other airline employees to submit to questioning, so far without result.
The number of shoplifting cases involving Vietnamese in Japan rose sharply from 247 in 1998 to 999 in 2012, according to the National Police Agency of Japan.
In the first half of 2013, 401 cases involving Vietnamese were reported, comprising 40 percent of shoplifting cases involving foreigners, Sankei Shimbun reported.
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