TOKYO (TR) – It was a pub crawl of a most unusual sort.
Last month, police arrested eight members of the Yamaguchi-gumi for allegedly demanding payment of mikajimeryo — or “protection money” — from bars and clubs in the area.
In an initiative titled “Gangster Elimination Roller,” about 150 officers on Tuesday broke into groups of two to meet with management and employees of establishments to inquire whether payments of protection money had been demanded by members of criminal syndicates.
Hirofumi Naito, a section head within an anti-organized crime division, said, “In order to make Ginza a city that everyone can visits with peace of mind, I want to persevere in the elimination of gangsters.”
Crackdown in June
Beginning in 2013, Hisachi Umeki, the 54-year-old boss of the Kokusui-kai, a third-tier gang of the Yamaguchi-gumi, and seven other gang members, are alleged to have demanded payment of around 50,000 yen per month for mikajimeryo from a few dozen high-end clubs and bars in Ginza.
There are approximately 2,000 bars, restaurants and clubs in Ginza. Since 2009, the suspects are believed to have collected at least 50 million yen in the extortion racket.