Japan police tightening grip on Yamaguchi-gumi factions

Kunio Inoue of the Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi
Kunio Inoue of the Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi was arrested on Tuesday for allegedly using another person’s name to engage in a contract for a mobile phone (TV Asahi)

HYOGO (TR) – The long arm of the law may be reaching out to Japan’s largest criminal syndicate and its breakaway gangs.

The arrest on Tuesday of Kunio Inoue, the 68-year-old head of the Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi, on charges of fraud may portend a wider crackdown to stem possible violence, reports TV Asahi (June 6).

Hyogo Prefectural Police accused Inoue of using the name of a woman, aged in her 30s, in engaging in a contract for a new model of mobile phone at shop in Kobe’s Nada Ward.

To be sure, the infraction is minor. However, the arrest followed a meeting held on Monday that assembled the directors of police organizations across the nation. The message was simple: Arrest members of the Yamaguchi-gumi and the Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi in an effort to annihilate them.

“To arrest upper-level management and isolate them from society is an extremely effective means for weakening and destroying criminal syndicate,” a member of the police said, according to TV Asahi (June 6).

Located in Awaji City, the Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi formed in 2015 following the dissolution of the Yamaguchi-gumi, the Kobe-based syndicate that is Japan’s largest. This past April, the Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi itself suffered a mass defection with the dissenting gangs forming the Ninkyo Dantai Yamaguchi-gumi.

With three Yamaguchi-gumi factions now in existence, police have been increasingly upping intelligence gathering. For example, police raided of the headquarters of the Yamaken-gumi, the key affiliate gang of the Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi, on suspicion of health insurance fraud on May 30.

Police are seeking to stem violence that may result should the three gangs begin tussling over turf, and the arrest of Inoue appears to be a sign that they mean business.

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