KOBE--Police on Dec. 2 arrested a Vietnamese woman here on charges of bribing a consul at the Consulate General of Vietnam in Fukuoka to obtain residence status in Japan for other Vietnamese expatriates.

Duong Thi The, 34, a company employee who lives in Kobe’s Nagata Ward, is accused of paying the consul a total of 150,000 yen ($1,370) to issue documents for five people during the period from May 2017 to January this year, according to Hyogo prefectural police.

These documents included a marriage certificate in Vietnam, which the consulate general normally does not issue to a short-term visitor.

The has admitted to the charges, police said.

According to police, The transferred funds to the bank account in the consul’s name about 200 times for a total sum of about 4 million yen from around May 2016.

“It is a criminal act that can lead to a fake marriage for the purpose of gaining status of residence in Japan,” said a prefectural police official.

The consul, a 38-year-old male, has left Japan.

“We don’t know anything about it at all. We are looking into the matter,” an official of the consulate general told The Asahi Shimbun.

From around February 2016, The started advertising on social network sites and other locations her willingness to assist in the acquisition of residence status in Japan for Vietnamese.

Bribery of foreign public officials is prohibited under the Unfair Competition Prevention Law, which was revised in 1998. Violators can receive up to a five-year prison sentence or a fine of up to 5 million yen, or both. However, there is no provision for penalties for foreign public officials.

This is the second case in which police made an arrest on charges of bribery of foreign public officials, and the first time a foreigner has been arrested.

In 2013, Aichi prefectural police arrested a former Japanese executive director at an automobile-related company on charges of bribery of a local government official in China.