TOKYO (TR) – Tokyo Metropolitan Police plan to send four sports car enthusiasts to prosecutors for violating the Road Traffic Act during the novel coronavirus pandemic, reports the Sankei Shimbun (May 28).
According to police, the four men, who participate in the so-called “roulettezoku” (or roulette tribe) subculture, drove more than 50 kilometers per hour over the speed limit on the Shuto Expressway.
Some of the violations took place during the state of emergency that went into effect April 7 and extended until Monday.
During that time, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government asked persons to curtail travel to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19.
Racers in the subculture compete against one another at high speeds along highways in the capital early in the morning. Some racers top out at speeds around 200 kilometers per hour.
Police are also aware that many of the cars have undergone illegal modifications and cover their license plates to avoid identification.
“I heard that the expressway was quiet and came to run,” one of the racers said. “I wanted a distraction from the self-restraint [due to the state of emergency],” another said. One of the racers was clocked going more than 80 kilometers per hour over the speed limit.
Authorities anticipated activity by roulettezoku racers during the state of emergency. Over the Golden Week holiday, Tokyo police and the Metropolitan Expressway Co. shut four parking areas where racers are known to gather.