TOKYO (TR) – A member of the Yamaguchi-gumi criminal syndicate was among four suspects taken into custody by the Yamagata prefectural police this month for attempted extortion of a restaurant, reports the Yamagata Shimbun (July 30).
Officers arrested 47-year-old gang member Kiyokazu Shinozaki, construction workers Manabu Inoue, 41, and Yuji Takahashi, 36, and Hiroyuki Ito, 44, who is unemployed, for threatening the 38-year-old manager of a restaurant in June.
The suspects are alleged to have demanded cash contributions to summer and year-end festivals. All four suspects have denied the allegations.
According to investigators, the extortion — termed mikajimeryo, or the collection of protection money on the third day of the month — consisted of demands by phone and a personal visit by a 38-year-old male office worker to the restaurant. “I’ll smash this place up,” the office worker is alleged to have shouted.
The manager of the restaurant subsequently filed a report with police. The four arrests took place between July 18 and 29.