While the U.S. embassy in Tokyo has mounted a campaign to discourage Americans from enjoying a tipple in Roppongi, among the natives the practice of drink-spiking followed by robbery seems to be much more prevalent in Ueno. It was there, reports Shukan Jitsuwa (Jan. 28), that foreigners of Asian descent first began to slip mickey finns into customers’ drinks in order to relieve them of their cash and other valuables.
“It’s like a game of hide-and-seek,” says the manager of a local cabaret club. “Just when we thought that Ueno was safe at last, the crocks returned to their old haunts.”
“Up to November last year, the number of victims around Ueno came to about 90,” a reporter based in Tokyo Metropolitan Police headquarters tells the magazine. “There were something like 40 more cases in the neighboring Yushima area in Bunkyo Ward. Total losses are estimated at around 70 million yen. Previously the police undertook a sweep and went after the touts and the shops that had teamed up with the crooks, but the thieves just high-tailed it to Kabukicho and Ginza. Now they’re back in Ueno, an area that tends to be overlooked by the MPD.”
The M.O. of the crooks is well known. They either get someone to ply the customer with beverages with a high concentration of alcohol or slip in sleeping tablets, and once the victims are woozy, they are relieved of cash and credit cards.
There have even been cases where giddy customers have been persuaded into informing their PIN number, enabling the crooks to withdraw funds up to the allowable daily limit from ATMs at nearby convenience stores.
“The thieves operate in several groups, the biggest of which is made up of Chinese,” says the reporter. “Others are made up of Koreans, Southeast Asians and even East Europeans.”
As one example of how the teams operate, a man was approached by an attractive Chinese woman in the elevator of his Ginza hotel.
“How about a massage?” she offered. Unable to resist her lascivious grin, he went for it. While servicing him in his room she spiked his tea beverage. When he awoke, 60,000 yen in cash from his wallet and a wristwatch valued at two million yen was missing.
Police also arrested a gang of Koreans who worked with bar hostesses in Kabukicho. In one incident, a customer at a snack pub, after being drugged, robbed and left unconscious on the street, was said to have died.
In the end, there may only be two possible ways to eradicate such crimes: either prosecute the criminals or eliminate human sexual urges. If you can’t keep from being lewd, then better not get stewed, Shukan Jitsuwa raps. (K.S.)
Source: “Futatabi Tokyo, Ueno ni maimodotta Shinjuku, Ginza no ‘konsui goto dan,'” Shukan Jitsuwa (Jan. 28, page 197)
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