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Coronavirus not slowing illicit photo scammers

TOKYO (TR) – In spite of government efforts in recent months to restrict the movement of persons in the capital due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, a ring of extortionists is continuing to operate seemingly unimpeded.

Law enforcement calls the ring the “Tosatsu Hunters,” a label derived from their penchant for swindling perverts who take illicit photographs of women.

According to the Yomiuri Shimbun (May 14), the latest suspect is Daisuke Nohara, a 30-year-old resident of Minato Ward who was accused of attempted extortion on Tuesday.

At around 2:30 p.m. that day, Nohara saw a man taking tosatsu footage up the skirt of a woman, believed to be in her 20s, near JR Ikebukuro Station in Toshima Ward.

Daisuke Nohara (Twitter)

“Out-of-court settlement of 1 million yen”

“You did tosatsu,” Nohara reportedly said to the man before taking him to a nearby park. There, Nohara telephoned a female acquaintance who posed as the victim.

“I would like an out-of-court settlement of 1 million yen,” she was heard saying through the earpiece of Nohara’s phone, according to the Ikebukuro Police Station. (It is not known how Nohara convinced the man that he conveniently had the telephone number of a woman he was seemingly not acquainted with.)

Nohara then took the man to a nearby ATM machine and had him withdraw 66,000 yen in cash. After an officer on patrol noticed the pair behaving suspiciously, he approached, causing both of them to flee.

To not reveal the tosatsu act

The officer apprehended Nohara, who later declined to comment on the allegations. Police are now seeking the whereabouts of the man, who is believed to be in his 30s, and the woman who spoke on the telephone.

Since March, police have become aware of several similar cases that have taken place in the same area. It is also speculated that in other cases the victims did not come forward so as to not reveal the tosatsu act.

Last year, police arrested two other men for carrying out the same crime in Ikebukuro. Other cases have emerged in Harajuku.