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Police arrest 3rd Chinese suspect in 7pay theft case

The smartphone payment service "7pay" (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Police arrested a Chinese student Friday in connection with alleged theft via the new smartphone payment service "7pay" for Seven-Eleven convenience stores -- the third suspect in the case possibly linked with a China-based international crime organization.

Yu Huiling, 21, a part-timer at a Seven-Eleven outlet in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward, is suspected of using stolen IDs for unauthorized access of the newly-launched cashless payment service to purchase around 32,000 yen ($295) worth of 15 items including electronic cigarette cartridges and cosmetics at the shop she worked for.

Seven & i Holdings Co.'s 7pay has been hit with numerous cases of unauthorized access since the payment service was launched on July 1 at over 20,000 outlets across Japan. The company has since suspended accepting new users or allowing users of the service to add money to its smartphone application.

Just last week, police arrested two Chinese men, who used stolen IDs to settle payment for e-cigarettes at a Seven-Eleven outlet in Tokyo's Shinjuku Ward, on suspicion of attempted fraud.

Yu told investigators she had received a message from a Chinese friend offering money in exchange for help in purchasing cigarettes on 7pay, via the social messaging app WeChat on July 3, according to the police.

The suspect allegedly used the 7pay IDs and passwords of several people to settle payments for the 15 items during her shift at the convenience store between 10 p.m. on July 4 and 12:45 a.m. the following day.

Yu was quoted as saying she had planned to send the items via a courier service, the police said.

The incident came to light when a man contacted the store after noticing the transaction in his purchase history immediately after payment was made.

The Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry said last week that Seven & i had failed to strictly follow guidelines to prevent unauthorized access, and warned providers of similar services to ensure they confirm the identity of users.

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