TOKYO (TR) – Tokyo Metropolitan Police last week arrested three members of the Yamaguchi-gumi organized crime syndicate for demanding protection money, reports the Sankei Shimbun (Oct. 21).
Officers from the anti-organized crime division took gang members Hirokazu Higaki (35), Kazunori Iwamoto (38) and Keisuke Suga (37) into custody on October 21 on charges of attempted extortion. Also apprehended was 46-year-old office worker Toshio Mizuguchi.
“No such threats were made,” Higaki is quoted by police in denying the allegations.
According to officers involved in the investigation, the four individuals were initially approached by an acquaintance of Mizuguchi regarding the prospects of him paying 50,000 yen per month in mikajimeryo fees (protection money) to be able to tout for clubs in the streets of the red-light district of Kabukicho.
In August, the four met with the 30-year-old acquaintance at a family restaurant in Nakano Ward. He announced to the group that he was no longer interested in carrying out the work.
Mizuguchi and the acquaintance began fighting verbally, and the threats of extortion were then allegedly made.