“Then they fought about how to distribute the profits,” says a friend of the 16-year-old leader of the group, “and it escalated to murder.”
The suspects include the aforementioned leader, three other 16-year-old females, two 16-year-old boys, and 21-year-old Taihei Seto.
According to police, the suspects lured the victim into a van on the morning of June 28. She was then assaulted and robbed of 42,000 yen and her bank card inside the vehicle, which was driven by Seto, on the way to Haigamine Peak in Kure.
The victim’s body was then dumped in the mountains. It was discovered on July 13. After initially being taken into custody on abandonment charges, the suspects were rearrested for murder on August 3.
“At first, the prostitution group was started by the leader to service customers she was already acquainted with,” says a writer covering the Hiroshima Prefectural Police. “But by the end of last year the number of girls entering the group increased and she became the boss.”
Initially, the ring utilized deai-kei “encounter” matchmaking sites to attract customers. But an organized crime member posing as a customer warned them to stop stealing clients from the site. So the group switched to LINE, whose registration system requiring a unique ID offers more security.
“For a session at a love hotel, the rate was between 25,000 and 30,000 yen,” says the friend. “The leader was requiring a cut of the total sales. She was proud of seeing monthly revenue peaking at one million yen.”
The group leader lived with her mother, who is approximately 40 years of age, and younger sister in an apartment in Hiroshima’s Higashi Ward. When she was in kindergarten her parents divorced. Thereafter, she lived with her grandparents, but two years ago she moved in with her mother, who worked at a Korean restaurant until quitting due to an illness. Her mother exists on welfare.
The headquarters of the prostitution operation was an apartment of one of the girls in Naka Ward. Due to being neglected by her parents, the girl receives 100,000 yen in welfare each month. She shares the residence with her boyfriend, the group’s leader. The group’s leader and her boyfriend also used the apartment.
“The apartment was not only for living,” says the most recently mentioned friend. “It was also used for prostitution. There were customers who didn’t want to pay the hotel fee. So when others were out, it was used for the sessions.” (A.T.)
Source: “AKB48 nami no bijo ‘enko shudan’ wo tabaneta shahan,” Shukan Jitsuwa (Aug. 8, pages 32-35)
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