TOKYO, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- Three British fugitives who fled Japan after allegedly robbing a jewelry store in Tokyo in 2015 of goods worth around 106 million yen (963,000 U.S. dollars), may be handed over to Japanese authorities, sources with knowledge of the matter said Tuesday.
British authorities, while not revealing whether the three have been arrested and are in custody in Britain, intimated that they may know the whereabouts of the alleged fugitives, the sources said.
If a handover were to take place, it would mark the first time for authorities in Japan to receive fugitives from a country with which it does not have an extradition treaty with.
Currently, Japan only has such treaties with the United States and South Korea.
But sources here have said that British police, after the fugitives were put on the international wanted list through the Interpol, after arrest warrants for them were obtained in October 2017, showed an understanding for the extradition request, based on its own judicial philosophy.
Britain's basic judicial philosophy holds that offenders should, in most cases, be tried and punished if convicted, in the countries and regions in which the offenses were committed.
Following the three men now aged between 19 and 23 carrying out the heist on the evening of Nov. 20, 2015, at a Harry Winston jewelry store in Tokyo's Shibuya Ward and injuring a security guard in the process, the three, who have been identified by security camera footage, fled Japan two days later.
British police have received evidence from their counterparts in Tokyo along with other supporting material, sources here said, and in cooperation, both sides have been making the necessary arrangements and holding talks on the potential handover.
As no extradition treaty exists between Japan and Britain, the latter is not legally bound to release the fugitives into Japanese custody.
Usually, in such cases, the country in which the crime was committed asks for the cooperation of the country where the alleged fugitive is living to charge them in accordance with its laws.