Japanese woman nabbed in Ubon over financial fraud

Immigration Bureau commissioner Pol Lt Gen Nattatorn Prohsunthorn talks to Setsuko Yamabe (centre) at the Immigration Bureau office on Wednesday. (Photo by Chanat Katanyu)

A Japanese woman wanted by police in Japan for cheating investors out of their money has been arrested in Thailand, immigration police said Wednesday.

Immigration Bureau commissioner Pol Lt Gen Nattatorn Prohsunthorn said Setsuko Yamabe, 62, a native of Kumamoto prefecture in southern Japan, was arrested on March 30 at a gas station in Warin Chamrap district, Ubon Ratchathani, at which time she was accompanied by a Thai man.

Yamabe is expected to be extradited soon to Japan where Kumamoto police have issued a warrant for her arrest for financial fraud.

She is alleged to have illegally invested almost 70 million yen (200 million baht) collected from a Japanese man, while guaranteeing the principal and promising high returns.

Using the same method, she allegedly amassed more than 700 million yen from dozens of other people between 2014 and 2016, according to police. Some victims who lost their money fell into depression and a suicide was even reported.

Yamabe entered Thailand 15 times in the past several years, most recently in January as a tourist, and recently applied for an extended stay until April 19.

Police said they intend to question the Thai man with whom Yamabe was staying in the province to see whether he involved in the scheme, while also investigating why she visited Thailand so frequently.

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