TOKYO (TR) – With criminal activity on the rise, Tokyo Metropolitan Police this week initiated special patrols in entertainment districts prior to the start of end-of-year parties, reports TBS News (Dec. 4).
On Wednesday night, 80 officers and volunteers roamed the streets of the Kabukicho red-light district of Shinjuku Ward to issue warnings about illegal touting and bottakuri practices (or overcharging).
This year, police have received more than 400 complaints of overcharging by bars and clubs in Kabukicho. According to public broadcaster NHK (Dec. 4), the number of such crimes has exceeded 100 cases in the last month alone, with the claimed damage totaling more than 30 million yen.
In many cases, a patron lured into a shop by a street tout will be threatened with violence into paying a sum of money much larger than initially agreed upon. Last month, police arrested the manager of a hostess club for allegedly demanding 280,000 yen from three male customers.
On Monday night, a similar patrol was carried out in the Center-gai district near Shibuya Station to restrict the activities of aggressive street touts.
According to police, the number of such crimes increases in entertainment districts in the metropolis as year-end bonenkai parties begin.
“Prior to the bonenkai season, we want to strengthen enforcement against the touts and personnel of malicious shops,” said Hiroyuki Shoji, a chief from the Shinjuku Police Station.