A total of 1.4 billion yen ($12.7 million) in cash has been stolen from some 1,400 automated teller machines in convenience stores across Japan in the space of two hours earlier this month, investigative sources said Sunday.
Police suspect that the cash was withdrawn at ATMs using counterfeit credit cards containing account information leaked from a South African bank.
Japanese police will work with South African authorities through the International Criminal Police Organization to look into the major theft, including how credit card information was leaked, the sources said.
The theft at convenience store ATMs took place in the morning of May 15 in Tokyo and 16 prefectures across the country, and police believe over 100 people might have coordinated in the unlawful withdrawal.
In each of the approximately 14,000 transactions, the maximum amount of 100,000 yen was withdrawn from Seven Bank ATMs using the fake credit cards, according to the sources.
ATM transaction data suggests that information from 1,600 credit cards issued by a South African bank was used, the sources said.