Wed, Jan 31, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Police arrest two suspects in trade show heist case

Staff writer, with CNA

Police officers arrest Philippine national Leonor Martinez at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport on Monday on suspicion of having stolen cash from a Japanese exhibitor at the Taiwan Jewelry and Gem Fair at the Taipei World Trade Center on Nov. 6 last year.

Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times

Two of five suspects from the Philippines believed to have robbed a Japanese exhibitor in Taipei last year were arrested by authorities at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport early on Monday.

The two suspects were later identified as a 36-year-old woman surnamed Leonor and a 63-year-old man surnamed Alfelor, who was allegedly the group’s mastermind, the head of an investigation team from Taipei Police Department’s Xinyi Precinct (信義) said.

After being questioned by police with the assistance of the Philippine representative office, the two admitted to stealing a handbag from a man that contained about ¥300,000 (US$2,760).

The five suspects allegedly fled the scene of the robbery to New Taipei City’s Sanchong District (三重) and video cameras captured the group leaving the nation from the airport six hours later.

A 48-year-old Japanese man, whose name has not been disclosed, on Nov. 6 last year reported to police that his bag was taken outside Taipei World Trade Center’s Exhibition Hall 1 on the final day of the Taiwan Jewelry and Gem Fair.

He said he was waiting to hail a taxi when his bag went missing.

Footage from nearby surveillance cameras showed that a group of two men and three women distracted the Japanese man by striking up a conversation while a member of the group walked away with the bag without being noticed.

Alfelor and Leonor told police that they returned to Taiwan to look for other targets, but denied that their group had anything to do with the theft of NT$200 million of jewelry at the same fair.

The case has been sent to the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office for further investigation.

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