Jerry Collins relieved to be arrested in Japan
Jerry Collins (Reuters file)
By 3 News online staff
Former All Black Jerry Collins says he armed himself with knives because he feared for his life after a "misunderstanding" with gang members in Japan
He says he was relieved to be arrested in a Hamamatsu department store on March 17, because it meant he would be safe.
Speaking to John Campbell from inside the Hamamatsu police cells where he is being held, Collins denied speculation he had taken drugs before his arrest after security staff reported he had been sweating profusely and looked "unstable". He said all tests for illegal substances have come back clear.
Collins said he ran into the department store because he was being followed and thought he would not be attacked in public.
He entered the food hall and put two knives on the counter – one with a 17cm blade, 2cm longer than is allowed under Japanese law.
The Entetsu Department Store's manager Nakamura Aono said staff gave water to a clearly distressed Collins, before 20 police came in to arrest him.
Mr Aono said staff didn't feel threatened by Collins at all.
Campbell Live understands the gang following Collins was made up of foreign workers, mostly Brazilians, who are believed to have shown a dislike for foreign rugby players.
Collins' lawyer Tim Castle is now in Japan and will visit his client in jail. Mr Castle has taken over letters of support and character references from the New Zealand Rugby Union, family, friends and community leaders.
Collins could face up to two more weeks in prison without being charged before he finds out whether he'll be charged, or released and sent back to New Zealand.