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Missing Japanese Man Found in Korean Prison

Posted March. 31, 2009 10:48,   


A middle-aged Japanese woman in Yokohama, Japan, received a shock early this year when she received a letter from her 25-year-old son, who had been missing since October last year.

The letter, which began, “Mother, I’m sorry for causing trouble,” was surprisingly sent from a detention house in Incheon.

The man elaborated on how he, a college student, got arrested on charges of drug trafficking in the letter.

The Japanese daily Yomiuri Shimbun reported his story yesterday in a story on drug trafficking gangs that hire young people to deliver drugs in Korea and Southeast Asia.

The student came across an interesting online ad via his cell phone. The ad read, “Earn money while traveling abroad,” and he was seeking a part-time job in October for his college tuition himself since his family was unable to afford it.

Out of curiosity, he called the number on the ad and met five to six men in a downtown Yokohama restaurant who treated him to dinner. After hearing of the student’s financial troubles, the men told him that they would solve his problems in return for him getting a piece of luggage in Malaysia and taking it to Korea.

He was promised 300,000 Japanese yen (3,100 U.S. dollars) upon completion of the task.

The student flew to Malaysia from Narita International Airport, where he was joined by a Japanese woman in her early 20s also hired for the job. They received orders via cell phone and received a bag from a white male in Malaysia.

They arrived in Incheon International Airport, where they were arrested on charges of drug trafficking.

Through her son’s letters, the student’s mother learned that other Japanese were arrested on the same charge as her son, including a 24-year-old student who went missing after telling his family that he would travel in Korea.

Japanese police arrested suspect Kyo Watanabe, who allegedly hired young people for drug trafficking, and are tracking down the leaders of the drug ring.

Watanabe, 20, himself a college student, testified that he had uploaded the ad on Web sites accessible on cell phones since September last year in return for 300,000 yen (3,100 dollars) per month. He also said he had sent 15 drug couriers abroad.