Japan arrests four Vietnamese money smugglers

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Police in Japan on Friday said they have arrested four Vietnamese nationals on suspicion of transferring around three billion yen (more than US$32.4 million) to Vietnam via an "underground" bank they had set up.

The arrestees are: Nguyen Van Tuan, 27, director of the enterprise and three staff members Vo Van Thi, 26, Tran Thanh Hai, 30 and Tran Thi Thanh Dung, 27.

Since March last year, they have transferred around 250 million yen (US$2.7 million) to Vietnam from Japan from March last year, police said.

Six times between May and August last year, the group helped Vietnamese nationals in Japan send home a total of 830,000 yen ($8,970), police said.

They didn't transfer the money in cash, but used it to buy machines and tools that people in Vietnam could sell for money. For each transfer, the foursome charged a commission of 4,700 yen, the police said.

A search of their homes found documents relating to many bank accounts that the four people had opened.

Further investigations are going as police suspect that the group started the illegal money transfer at least in January last year and have since sent three billion yen in total to Vietnam.

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