Government official calls 28-year-old “a risk to public safety and security.”

On Sunday, Romi Hoshino was planning to hop on a plane at Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila in order to fly from the Philippines to Hong Kong. Hoshino never got on the plane, though, because prior to boarding he was arrested for being one of Japan’s most-wanted manga pirates.

The 28-year-old Hoshino, who is also known as Zakay Romi, is believed to have been the man behind Manga Mura, Japan’s most notorious manga-sharing website, which regularly posted copyrighted content without obtaining any sort of licenses from publishers. Manga Mura started up in 2016 and quickly became Japan’s highest-profile provider of pirated material, so much so that it was specifically designated in a 2018 Japanese government crackdown on such sites, which estimated Manga Mura’s damage to the publishing industry at 320 billion yen (US$2.96 billion). In the same year, Manga Mura was shut down when it got cut off by its Internet provider, but was quickly reborn and rebranded as a new site called Manga Town.

▼ A photo purported to show Hoshino, wearing a T-shirt announcing “Looking for unopened girlfriend.”

The Philippine Bureau of Immigration’s press release describes Hoshino as “a Japanese-German-Israeli fugitive wanted by Japanese authorities for infringement of the Copyright Law” and that he “was arrested on the strength of a mission order issued by BI Commissioner Jaime Morente following the request of the Embassy of Japan in Manila, who sought the BI’s help in locating and arresting [Hoshino],” adding that the operation was a joint effort with Interpol’s Tokyo branch.

Morente had more to say about Hoshino, saying:

His presence in the country is a risk to public safety and security. We are in close coordination with our foreign counterparts who send us information about criminals who might be hiding in the Philippines. Upon knowledge, we immediately seek, arrest, and deport these fugitives.”

Hoshino is currently being held at a Bureau of Immigration facility in Manila’s Taguig district, while the Japanese Embassy is sorting out procedural issues with the German and Israeli embassies before his eventual expected deportation to Japan, where he would face prosecution for copyright infringement.

Sources: Kyodo via Jin, Philippine Bureau of Immigration via IT Media, Manila Bulletin via Engadget, Twitter/@ABSCBNNews
Top image: Pakutaso
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!