HOKKAIDO (TR) – Hokkaido Prefectural Police have arrested three persons, including an organized crime member, who are suspected in the serial poaching of salmon dating back to last month, reports the Mainichi Shimbun (Nov. 22).
On November 6, Takanori Hanada, a 46-year-old member of the Sanshin-kai, an affiliate gang of the Sumiyoshi-kai, construction employee Shuichi Ogura, 46, and Takamitsu Sasaki, 46, allegedly stole 37 salmon from a hatchery along a river in the town of Kiyosato.
The suspects also cut open the abdomens of other fish and stole 40 kilograms of roe valued at 400,000 yen, according to the Shari Police Station.
At 12:20 a.m. on November 6, an officer on patrol spotted plastic bags containing the salmon and the roe near the river. When Ogura became aware of the officer he fled.
The suspect, who was soaking wet at the time, the sought refuge in a tunnel. However, due to the cold he surrendered to the officer. The other suspects were apprehended thereafter.
Ogura has admitted to poaching. However, Hanada only admits to stealing the fish, not the roe.
Police believe the suspects were behind four similar incidents took place in Hokkaido in October. It is believed that the intention of the thefts was to sell the fish with a portion of the funds going to the gang.