A 24-year-old man has been arrested in Japan after revealing he lost the $360,000 he had received as aid due to Covid on gambling, police said on Thursday (19).
An official from the Yamahuchi region, in the western part of the country, told AFP news agency that he had been detained on suspicion of violating cyber fraud laws, but did not provide further details.
The man, whose identity has not been revealed, received the amount in April due to a mistake made by officials in charge of delivering money to the low-income population affected by the pandemic. When the mistake was realized, employees tried to access it through phone calls, letters and even visits to his home.
With the refusal to return the money, local authorities appealed to justice last week. Abu Mayor Norihiko Hanada told reporters the man’s arrest represents “another step towards the truth”. “I don’t think at all that he used all the money,” he added.
Hanada also said that its employees are tired of receiving phone calls and emails from citizens upset by the revelation. The employees’ error was addressed on television programs, which led to the population’s revolt with the mistake and misuse of public money.
The young man told the police that he spent the money in casinos abroad, but the suspicion is that he transferred part of the amount to another bank account. He told the officers that he would, yes, return the amount but “bit by bit”.
At a press conference earlier this week, the man’s lawyer said he had spent it all playing with his cell phone, but that his client is cooperating with the police.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Japan has accumulated 8.4 million cases of Covid. The daily number of new reported infections has risen again since the beginning of May – on Wednesday (18), the moving average for the last seven days was 36 thousand. More than 30,100 died from the disease, and 80.8% of the population completed the first vaccination schedule.