Officers from the peace preservation division took Ayumu Ugajin, 42, a member of the Yamaguchi-gumi crime organization, into custody at around 3 p.m. in the Sanya district for accepting bets on boat races from within a yakitori (grilled chicken) restaurant — a violation of the Professional Motor Boat Racing Law regarding bookmaking.
Restaurant manager Yuzo Muto, 73, and one other person were also arrested on the same charges. Three customers at the restaurant were also taken into custody. According to TV Asahi, all of the suspects but Ugajin have admitted to the allegations. The gang member has remained silent since his arrest.
Government-run gambling on motorcycle, horse, boat, and bicycle racing is legal in Japan only if the wagering takes place at a properly sanctioned venue.
At the restaurant, bets were accepted in 100-yen increments, with punters being required to wager over 10,000 yen per session. A television broadcast the races on the premises. Most of the customers were pensioners, who commonly wagered 50,000 yen each month at the restaurant.
According to police, Ugajin collected 115 million yen in revenue over a four-year period. Police believe that the majority of the funds was funneled back to the Yamaguchi-gumi.