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    Alleged "Pink Panther" member extradited


    by ODN

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    An alleged member of the so-called "Pink Panther" international crime syndicate arrived in Japan after being extradited from Spain by Japanese authorities over a 2007 armed robbery of a Tokyo jewellery shop.

    Rifat Hadziahmetovic, a 42-year-old from Montenegro, is suspected of having robbed a jewellery shop in Tokyo's Ginza district in June 2007 and stole, among other things, a diamond-dotted tiara worth 2.3 million dollars.

    The suspect was arrested in March 2009 in Cyprus and was sent to Spain where he was taken into custody over other charges.

    After arriving at Narita Airport, Hadziahmetovic was escorted by Japanese police to a police station in Tokyo, located a few blocks away from the store he allegedly robbed.

    He is expected to be soon sent to the Tokyo district prosecutors' office for further investigation, Japanese media said.

    The "Pink Panther" gang have been blamed for a string of audacious heists around the world over the last 10 years, and Interpol estimates their robberies to have netted goods worth more than 317.6 million dollars.

    The gang was given its nickname by British police after their first heist in London's exclusive Mayfair district in 2003.

    Interpol says there may be up to 200 Pink Panther members, many of whom are Serbian nationals with military experience.