KITAKYUSHU (TR) – Fukuoka Prefectural Police on Monday took the acting chairman of the Kudo-kai organized crime group into custody for allegedly blackmailing the owner of a building, reports the Yomiuri Shimbun (Jan. 26).
Officers arrested Hiroshi Kimura, 61, number-three boss Keigo Kikuchi, 42, who is already in custody on separate charges, and one other gang member for intimidating the owner of a building in Yahatanishi Ward into granting its ownership to the gang on July 2 and August 22 of last year. Since 2000, the gang has used the entire building as an office.
All three suspects have reportedly denied the allegations.
Last September and October, officers arrested the three top bosses of the Kudo-kai, Satoru Nomura (68), Fumio Tanoue (58) and Kikuchi, for involvement in the murder of a fishery cooperative president in Kitakyushu in 1998 and the stabbing of a nurse in Fukuoka’s Hakata Ward two years ago.
In light of these arrests, the gang now faces a leadership vacuum, said Masahiko Koga, the chief of the organized crime division of the Fukuoka Prefectural Police, at a press conference.
“Kimura had effectively taken control of the gang,” said Koga. “With the leader now absent, the organization will be weakened.”