HYOGO (TR) – A gang member posed a “magazine reporter” in front of Hyogo Prefectural Police officers just before fatally shooting two rival gangsters in Kobe City earlier this month, investigative sources have revealed, reports the Mainichi Shimun (Oct. 11).
On October 10, Toshio Maruyama, 68, is alleged to have fatally shot Takayasu Sato, 43, and Kenji Nakagawa, 39, in front of an office of the Yamaken-gumi, a second-tier gang of the Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi.
Maruyama is a member of the Kodo-kai, the top affiliate gang of the Yamaguchi-gumi, whose chief rival is the Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi. Meanwhile, the victims are both members of the Yamaken-gumi.
Hyogo police officers already at the scene arrested Maruyama on suspicion of attempted murder. Police did not reveal whether the suspect admits to the allegations.
On that day, the Yamaken-gumi was holding its regular monthly meeting. Prior to the incident, Maruyama arrived at the scene in a silver sedan at around 2:30 p.m., according to investigative sources.
Officers from the Ikuta Police Station then began questioning Maruyama about what he was doing. “I am a weekly magazine reporter,” he reportedly said while holding a digital camera, the sources said.
At around 2:40 p.m., Maruyama, with the officers still present, pulled out a pump-action gun and shot Sato and Nakagawa at close range after they emerged from the office.
Sato and Nakagawa, who received wounds to the neck and chest, were later confirmed dead at a hospital, police said.
One of the officers wrestled Maruyama to the ground after the shooting. The gang member was found to be in possession of two guns.
Police suspect that the incident is retaliation for the shooting of a Yamaguchi-gumi member in Kobe earlier this year. In August, a gunman on a motorcycle opened fire at the Yamaguchi-gumi member after a vehicle he was inside arrived at a parking lot.
Maruyama is a resident of Kagoshima City, Kagoshima Prefecture. According to weekly tabloid Shukan Bunshun (Oct. 24), the Kodo-kai enlisted Maruyama as a hitman to carry out the act.
“Maruyama suffers from a chronic disease,” a gang member tells the magazine. “After taking into consideration that he doesn’t have many years left, he undertook the hitman role, leaving his family under the care of the [Kodo-kai].”