TOKYO (TR) – The Tokyo District Court has ruled against the former head of an organized crime group in a case involving a group of disabled plaintiffs who were extorted by an affiliate gang, reports TBS News (Sept. 29).
On Thursday, the court ordered Keika So, the 88-year-old former head of the Kyokuto-kai chairman, who also goes by the name Shinichi Matsuyama, and other current gang members, to pay 197 million yen in damages to 27 male and female plaintiffs.
“With a portion of the money funneled upward through the gang, the defrauding and extortion of the disabled victims was a part of its business,” said Presiding Judge Maki Yamada. “Therefore, the leader cannot escape responsibility as an employer.”
Over a two-year period ending in April of 2010, members of an affiliate of the Kyokuto-kai defrauded or intimidated the plaintiffs, who suffer from hearing impairments, via sign language or e-mails into paying approximately 170 million yen.
According to the lawyer for the plaintiffs, the verdict is the first time that a court has deemed a boss liable as an employer for the actions of underlings since a revision eight years ago to the Anti-Organized Crime Law of 1991 allowed for such litigation.