– I’m Kento Bento.
– This video is
made possible by Dashlane.
Download Dashlane for free
if you never want to lose
another password again at
the link in the description.
Tokyo; December 10th, 1968.
It was pouring rain.
The bank manager of the
Nihon Trust bank was on edge.
Someone had threatened his
life and those around him
over the past few months.
Just four days prior, a
letter, one of recent many,
was sent to his personal residence
demanding 300 million yen
or his house would be
blown up with dynamite.
The letter was made up
of characters cut out and
pasted from movie magazines.
Police were notified; and
indeed they kept a close eye
on the bank and his home; though,
this did not ease the mind
of the bank manager who
shared his concerns with
his branch employees.
Now of course, this is
Japan, and work is work;
the show must go on.
With this in mind, the bank
manager went on with his
duties, sending four of
his employees to the nearby
Toshiba factory to make a scheduled drop.
So off they went, taking the company car,
but not long after leaving the bank,
the four heard police sirens approaching.
At that very moment
they happened to be next
to a prison of all places.
A police officer screeched
to a halt in front of
the car, and frantically
got off his motorcycle
to warn them.
The branch manager’s home
had just been blown up,
people were injured; and
some presumably worse.
Despite police monitoring the locations,
the perpetrator was still
able to carry out his threat.
But it wasn’t over,
additional threats were made.
The bank in particular was
now a target and branch
employees were at risk,
especially those who had
left the bank earlier to
carry out bank duties in
clearly-marked company cars.
Their car needed to be searched.
The officer got down
underneath to check the car,
but before he could do a
proper search, an employee
started noticing smoke and
flames emerging from the vehicle.
Fearing the car was about to explode,
the officer desperately
tried to roll out of the way.
Everyone ran as fast as
they could to safety,
retreating behind the prison walls.
They waited and waited for the explosion.
But there was no explosion.
They looked back, and realized
the company car was gone.
The police officer was gone.
Had he moved the car to safety?
Confused, they called the
Nihon Trust bank to find out
what was going on.
To their relief, the
bank manager answered;
he was alive and well.
In fact, everything was fine there;
the bank manager’s home
was never blown up.
As the adrenaline wore off,
it finally dawned on them
what had happened.
This was the moment the
perpetrator had been setting
up the past few months.
Disguised as a police officer,
he had now gotten away with
what was to be the bonus
payments of 523 Toshiba employees;
the stolen amount totaled
to 300 million yen
or six million dollars, the
exact amount he had asked for.
On the ground they found
various items left behind
including a warning flare
that the officer must have
ignited while under the
car, to mimic dynamite.
A reported 120 pieces of
evidence was left behind at
the crime scene, which is
a lot and would normally be
beneficial, but this was purposely done
to mislead the investigation.
This worked.
Half a century later, the
case remains unsolved.
Some say this was the
greatest heist in Japanese
history; there was no loss
of life, no blood spilt;
the plan meticulously
carried out by a single
person; and in the end the money taken;
but there are many ways a
bank heist can be great,
there are many ways it can be notable.
Take the case on May 15th, 2016.
At around 5:00 a.m. in the early hours,
cash was physically withdrawn from an ATM
from a Tokyo 7-Eleven.
The amount was a 100,000 yen, about $880,
which was the cash limit.
Now, this doesn’t seem too bad;
but try repeating this
14,000 times across Japan
in the span of just two hours.
Because that is exactly what happened.
In total, 1.4 billion yen,
about 13 million dollars,
was taken from ATMs alone;
and this wasn’t done electronically.
It was done in person.
Sure, it had to have
been some sort of a large
coordinated group, but
the staggering number of
transactions in a two hour frame
made even this seem questionable.
Compared to other notable cases,
the largest known recorded
number of participants to
have been involved in a single heist,
wouldn’t have been able
to pull this off either;
unless they had super powers.
Involving an even larger
team would presumably be
unwise, as there’d be too
many chefs in the kitchen.
Now after police completed
their painstaking process of
checking security footage
from each 7-Eleven store
and yeah it was only 7-Elevens hit,
they found their answer.
In this particular case,
the more chefs the better.
It wasn’t a team of 50,
or 100, or even 200.
It was 600 people.
600 people pulling off a sophisticated,
highly-coordinated heist
using fake credit cards.
Quite the contrast from
the single perpetrator
of our first heist.
Not surprisingly, people
have surmised with this many
active participants, there
must have been links to a
large crime organization.
But as of today, despite the numbers,
no one of note has been caught.
Now here’s a quick one.
August 7th, 1994.
540 million yen was
stolen from Fukutoku Bank;
which is a sizeable amount,
but what makes this story so
unique is that 10 days after the heist,
the bank, still reeling from
the events, received a note
from the robbers.
The note read Thank you
very much for the bonus.
We can now live on this loot
for the rest of our lives.
It was a sincere message of gratitude.
Yeah we all know the
reputation Japanese people
have for being polite but
this took it to another level.
So, the last three cases
involved plans being
executed perfectly with no loss of life,
but not the case with the next one.
We’re going way back.
January 26th, 1948.
Again in Tokyo; a man in his
forties walked into a branch
of the Imperial Bank,
just before closing time.
16 people were inside including
customers and bank workers.
He got everyone’s attention and explained
he was a government health inspector sent
by the US occupation authorities.
Remember, this was postwar Tokyo,
still under US occupation.
The man stated there was a
sudden outbreak of dysentery
in the area, and he was
to carry out inoculations.
In postwar Tokyo, the
disease was a legitimate
threat so no one really
doubted him, add to the fact
the man wearing an official
government armband.
He gave all 16 people a pill,
and a few drops of liquid,
which they quickly drank.
Now, it wasn’t long, until they
fell, one by one; in agony.
With everyone incapacitated,
the so-called health inspector
grabbed all the money he could find,
and calmly left.
12 of the 16 people would
later be confirmed dead,
including a young child.
The solution they drank
was a cyanide solution.
This was a ruthless way
to go about a heist;
but what made this even more
strange was that the man
left behind a business card;
he left it at the scene.
The card was marked with
the name Shigeru Matsui,
apparently from the Department
of Disease Prevention;
which does make sense since he was
pretending to be a health official.
But Shigeru Matsui turned out
to be a real person, who actually worked
for the Department of Disease Prevention.
Not surprisingly, upon
investigation Matsui was cleared,
he was not the robber,
he had several alibis.
But he told police he had
exchanged business cards
with 593 individuals.
Japanese people have the
habit of exchanging business
cards with personal details;
so this was helpful,
as police now had 593 suspects.
Over time, they were able to
whittle down this number to
just eight cards, eight suspects,
one of which was a man
named Sadamichi Hirasawa,
a Japanese painter.
When Hirasawa was questioned
and asked to produce the
card of Shigeru Matsui’s
which he should have had;
he could not.
He claimed it must have
been in his wallet which was
stolen the other day.
He was a victim of pickpocketing.
Of course, police had a
feeling they knew exactly
where the card was.
When asked to produce
an alibi, he could not.
When police looked into his history,
they found four previous
cases of bank fraud.
When they searched his possession,
they found a similar amount
of money to that stolen from
the bank, Hirasawa suspiciously refused to
divulge how he got the money.
Finally, when his face was
shown to eye witnesses,
they immediately identified
him as the poisoner.
Upon further interrogation,
Hirasawa confessed.
He was arrested for the
robbery and the murders;
and in 1950, he was given
the death penalty, he was
sent to death row to await
execution by hanging.
Case closed.
Or is it?
Because after the trial,
some had doubts whether
Sadamichi Hirasawa was
indeed the perpetrator.
Everything mentioned was circumstantial.
In fact, it was revealed
his confession was viciously
beaten out of him; allegedly tortured;
and it was only two of the
eyewitnesses who identified
him as the criminal.
Perhaps he was telling the truth.
Perhaps he was really a victim
of pickpocketing as he claimed.
The unexplained origin of
the money in his possession
was also thought by some to
be from his side business of
drawing pornographic
pictures, revealing this
truth to police, and to
the public, would have been
detrimental to his
reputation as an artist.
There was also no way Hirasawa could have
realistically obtained the
ingredients for what turned
out to be a military
grade cyanide solution
used in the robbery.
Interestingly, some have
claimed that the true
culprit was actually
a former member of the
notorious Unit 731; a covert
biological and chemical
warfare research and
development unit of the
Imperial Japanese Army;
that undertook lethal human
experimentation during wartime.
If so, this would explain the
accessibility to the poison.
The Minister of Justice
himself doubted Hirasawa’s
guilt and so never
signed the death warrant.
This opinion was shared by
successive Ministers of Justice,
so the death sentence was
never actually carried out.
And so Hirasawa sat in
prison, on death row,
for the next 32 years of his life,
one of the longest
tenures ever on death row.
And on May 10th, 1987, he
caught pneumonia and died in
a prison hospital.
Despite the verdict, the
case was never truly put to
rest, and many people felt
that the true culprit,
all those years ago, would
have been within grasp if
only the focus was on the right person.
This brutality happened
in 1948, but 70 years on,
there would emerge a new type of heist.
January 25th, 2018.
Land of the rising cyber-crime.
The Tokyo-based exchange, Coincheck,
one of the most prominent
virtual currency exchanges
in Asia was to fall victim to the biggest
cryptocurrency heist in history.
At 2:57 a.m., using overseas servers,
hackers disguising
themselves as authorized
users, were able to enter the system.
They remained undetected for
the next eight and a half
hours, stealing 58
billion yen worth of the
cryptocurrency NEM, which is
about $530 million dollars.
Then they were gone.
This incident became
an embarrassment to the
Japanese government who had
been trying to make Tokyo
the global center for cryptocurrency.
Coincheck revealed they failed
to implement the required
extra layer of security,
but even worse the stolen
currency had been kept
online in a hot wallet
rather than in a much more
secure offline storage facility
known as a cold wallet.
This is similar to if a
convenience store kept
significantly large amounts
in a cash register as
opposed to an off-premise bank vault.
Now one of the stranger
aspects of the heist is that
the stolen virtual funds
were able to be traced
online, because transactions
for Bitcoin and other
cryptocurrencies are all public.
And so the $530 million
worth was eventually traced
back to 11 specific addresses;
but the identities of those
sending and receiving the
money unfortunately remained anonymous.
Indeed no one yet has been caught,
but the developers of
NEM were able to label
the 11 addresses with specific
warning tags for all to see,
they also set up a tracking
tool to automatically reject
exchanges involving the stolen funds.
Of course the most
frustrating part of this is
that it all easily could
have been avoided if
Coincheck just added that
extra layer of security.
And really it’s not just big companies;
most people today are too
laxed when it comes to
online security using the
same password for every
account they have.
Now if this is you, congratulations,
you have bad habits just like me,
but that’s okay because
Dashlane makes keeping track
of all your passwords ridiculously easy.
It stores all your passwords
in one super-secure place
then auto-fills them
on websites you go to.
If you have the same
password everywhere but are
too lazy to go to each
individual website to change
your password, that’s me,
well all good because you can just
click one button in the Dashlane app,
and it does it for you.
Dashlane also has a password
generator so you don’t have
to spend time thinking
up super strong passwords
like this one.
By going to dashlane.com/kentobento,
you can get started for free;
and if you want some extra
special features like
syncing your passwords and
login details between all
your devices like iOS,
Android, Mac and Windows,
you can upgrade for 10%
off by using the promo code
kentobento at checkout.