Police believe that as many as 100 people worked together using forged credit cards containing account details illegally obtained from a bank in South Africa.
The attack which took place on the morning of May 15th appears to have been the brainchild of a criminal mastermind.The fake cards were used in 1400 ATM's and each person made a withdrawal 100,000 yen – the maximum allowed by the cash machines, they were able to cart away more than 1.4bn yen (US$12.7m)
Japanese police have requested the assistance of the authorities in South Africa, via Interpol in establishing how the credit card information was obtained.Transaction data retrieved from the cash machines suggests that the criminals used information for 1,600 credit cards issued by the unnamed South African bank.
According to local media, the daring operation went into place early on Sunday the 15th, the withdrawals began just after 5am with the last one made just before 8am the same day.
Reports suggest that members of the gang may no longer be in Japan. They made sure to buy themselves enough time by using cards issued in another country and carrying out the theft on a day when banks won't be open, by the time the crime was discovered, they already had a good headstart.