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Two alleged 'Luffy' gang members deported — BI

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Tuesday said it deported two Japanese nationals who are allegedly members of the “Luffy" gang.

In a recent press release, the immigration bureau announced the deportation of Sugano Kazushi and Shimoeda Saito. Identified as fugitives by the Japanese government, they were allegedly involved in fraudulent call activities for a criminal organization.

“Their deportation is a significant achievement in our efforts to disrupt criminal networks victimizing unsuspecting individuals,” BI’s press release read, quoting Immigration Commissioner Norman Tansingco. 

“This successful deportation is a testament to the collaborative partnership and good relationship between the Philippines and Japan. We will not allow our country to be used as a hiding ground for criminals and syndicates,” he added.

Kazushi and Saito are believed to be a part of the infamous Luffy group.

Named after a well-known anime character, the Luffy group has become infamous in Japan for engaging in various scams and robberies.

The pair also has an arrest warrant issued by the Tokyo Summary Court due to being a part of a “large-scale telecom fraud group.”

Saito was intercepted in November 2023 after attempting to leave Ninoy Aquino International Airport bound for Nagoya, Japan. 

Since 2019, the two individuals have been in hiding in the Philippines. 

A search was launched for them and their associates after the Japanese government officially notified authorities in February 2023 about their criminal status.