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Yokohama supermarket worker arrested for stealing customers' card info to buy plane tickets

The Metropolitan Police Department headquarters is seen in this file photo. (Mainichi/Kenji Yoneda)

TOKYO -- A Chinese male teenager residing in the city of Yokohama south of Tokyo has been arrested on suspicion of purchasing airplane tickets by using stolen credit card information, police announced on June 23.

The 16-year-old male student in his second year of high school was arrested on suspicion of computer fraud and had allegedly stolen credit card information of customers at a supermarket where he worked part time, according to the organized crime countermeasure special investigating unit of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).

The boy is accused of buying four plane tickets worth 146,160 yen (about $1,372) on an airline's booking website on Jan. 17 using credit card information collected from a woman in her 70s who also resides in the city of Yokohama. He has admitted to the allegations made against him.

According to the MPD special investigating unit, during the period between November 2019 and mid-February this year, the teen is suspected to have boarded airplanes heading to Sapporo in Japan's northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido, Naha in the country's southernmost prefecture of Okinawa, and other locations nearly 80 times, and visited Tokyo Disneyland in Urayasu, Chiba Prefecture east of the capital, as well as Universal Studios Japan based in the western Japan city of Osaka with friends, using the same method of fraud. They had apparently reserved the most expensive seats on the flights.

The teen had worked part time as a cashier at a supermarket in the city of Yokohama since October 2019, and stated that he had collected credit card information a total of 80 times. The special investigating unit is investigating the matter while estimating that the amount of financial damage exceeds 10 million yen (about $93,847).

According to police, suspicions arose after an airline filed a report with police that a customer was buying a plane ticket using another person's credit card.

(Japanese original by Kunihiro Iwasaki, City News Department)

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