Hokkaido man arrested after manipulating location to earn $67,900 worth of Muji store credit

Hokkaido resident Daigo Sugano was arrested for computer fraud after manipulating his location to earn 5.62 million yen worth of Muji store credit. PHOTO: ST FILE
Hokkaido resident Daigo Sugano was arrested for computer fraud after manipulating his location to earn 5.62 million yen worth of Muji store credit. PHOTO: ST FILE

How many times can a person visit a store in six weeks? 5.62 million times, Daigo Sugano would claim.

The 29-year-old Hokkaido resident managed to accrue 5.62 million yen (S$67,900) worth of points at lifestyle store Mujirushi, better known as Muji, between April 12 and May 30 this year. That corresponds to 5.62 million visits to Muji stores in six weeks, Japan Times reported.

Many retailers in Japan, including Muji, have loyalty programmes which reward people for visiting their stores, whether they make a purchase or not.

Non-paying customers earn less credit than those who make purchases, but customers still stand to earn a few yen of store credit just by checking in through the store's app or kiosk.

At Muji, each visit earns the customer one point, which is equivalent to one yen of credit.

Sugano was arrested by the police for computer fraud after pretending to visit 909 Muji stores across Japan, Europe and North America. He manipulated Global Positioning System data to access these stores, and used 300 false Muji app accounts and 45 computers to accumulate the points.

Almost none of the credit Sugano acquired remains in his accounts, and the police are investigating how and where the credit was used.

According to Japanese news blog SoraNews24, Sugano was arrested twice in November for computer fraud.

In the earlier case, Sugano was arrested for attempting to cheat Japanese shopping centre chain Aeon of 5.38 million yen in loyalty points, claiming to have visited Aeon shopping centres 2.7 million times with 1,000 Aeon app accounts.