Four Vietnamese people have been arrested for repeated shoplifting at Uniqlo and other clothing shops in Japan, with theft losses estimated to reach around 20 million yen ($135,000), police said Tuesday.

The four, including Nguyen Hoang Anh, a 38-year-old man whose residential address is unknown, are believed to have stolen 5,237 items, including sweaters and down jackets, during multiple visits to Japan between December 2018 and October 2023.

Vietnam is among the countries that have Uniqlo shops, operated by Japanese company Fast Retailing Co., but the suspects may have targeted stores in Japan because there are many self-checkouts, according to investigative sources.

The two men and two women in their 30s and 40s are suspected of involvement in 67 incidents in Tokyo and seven prefectures including Osaka and Fukuoka, and criminal cases have been built against them over two thefts and one instance of house-breaking.

They have admitted to the allegations, saying they were going through financial difficulties. The stolen items are likely to have been sold at online marketplaces in Vietnam.

The Fukuoka Prefectural Police, who apprehended the four individuals, have also obtained an arrest warrant for a woman in her 40s who lives in Vietnam, suspecting that she was giving instructions to the four, according to the sources.

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