FORMER Osprey and All Blacks star Jerry Collins is reportedly in custody after he was alleged to have been arrested for carrying a knife in a department store.
It has been reported that the 32-year-old flanker could be in custody for more than three weeks as Japanese police investigate the incident.
A report on website stuff.co.nz suggests he was arrested at the weekend in the central Japan industrial city of Hamamatsu.
The website reported he told Japanese police he kept a kitchen knife for self-defence.
His agent, Wellington lawyer Tim Castle, was reported to have said: "He's still in custody and the procedure initially allows to hold him for three days.
"That can be extended for a further 10 days if they wish to do so while further investigations continue, which has to be done through a court application.
"They can then request another 10 days, again through a court application, which means the whole procedure can be up to 23 days."
Mr Castle said Collins might have been threatened and had reason to fear for his safety in the weeks leading up to his arrest. He heard there might have been an incident involving social media that gave Collins cause for concern, it has been reported.
It is illegal to have weapons with blades longer than 15cm without police permission in Japan.
A New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson is reported as saying that the ministry was aware of the arrest.
Collins left Yamaha Jubilo in Japan's Top League last month when his two-year contract expired. He had played for them since 2011.
He played for New Zealand in 48 international games from 2001 to 2008, including the 2003 and 2007 World Cups.
He played for the Ospreys 56 times between 2009 and 2011.