Sydney - Former All Black Jerry Collins says he was running from a gang of
Brazilian workers who hated foreign rugby players shortly before his
arrest in Japan.
According to the stuff.co.nz website, Collins, 32, was arrested for carrying two knives in an upmarket
department store in the city of Hamamatsu on March 17, and has been held
in jail since.
He told TV3's Campbell Live he was terrified of being attacked and relieved to have been arrested.
Collins, who had been playing rugby for the Yamaha Jubilo club in
Iwata, 40 minutes from Hamamatsu, apparently entered the store and
placed two 17cm knives on top of a fish counter, before security staff
called the police.
It is illegal to carry weapons with blades longer than 15cm without police permission in Japan.
Collins told Campbell Live he was running from a "gang'' that wanted
to hurt him and believed the large number of people in the store would
prevent him from being attacked.
Anxious and sweating profusely, he was arrested by more than 20 police officers and taken to jail.
Campbell Live identified the "gang" as a group of Brazilian workers
who had a grudge against foreign rugby players dating back to before
Asked if he had been taking drugs, Collins told the programme he had been tested after arrest and was clean.
He said he had been treated kindly by police and was well.
Meanwhile, Collins' lawyer, Tim Castle, left New Zealand is due to
arrive in Japan tonight to visit the former Hurricane in jail.
Castle is carrying letters of support and character references from
the New Zealand Rugby Union, family, friends, church and community
The mayor of Collins' home town of Porirua, Nick Leggett, is one of the people to send a letter of support.
Leggett said it was important for Collins to know Porirua supported him.
''He's someone who is caring towards his community and is very proud to be from Porirua,'' he said.
''If it's not relevant to the Japanese legal community at least he'll know the place he is from has his back.''
The letter said Collins is a role model for youth in Porirua and
known for his caring and generous nature. ''Jerry has used his profile
many times to help raise funds for worthy causes not only in Porirua but
also throughout the country.''