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Yakuza among 7 nabbed over huge Kabukicho brawl

TOKYO (TR) – Tokyo Metropolitan Police have arrested seven persons, including members of a criminal syndicate, over a massive brawl in the Kabukicho red-light district earlier this year, reports the Asahi Shimbun (Oct. 28).

According to police, the fight was over turf to scout women to work in the red-light district’s hostess bars and various sex businesses.

Kento Konogaya, 30, and Hiroaki Nishida, 25, are three suspects representing one scouting group. Meanwhile, four members of the Sumiyoshi-kai, including 49-year-old Yayotaka Yoshikawa, are suspects who backed another group.

At just past 10:00 p.m. on June 4, dozens of persons from both sides started fighting on a road. They punched each other and threw at least one bicycle.

A 29-year-old scout supported by the gang members suffered unspecified injuries, police said.

Yayotaka Yoshikawa of the Sumiyoshi-kai, left, and Hiroaki Nishida (Twitter)

The suspects have been accused of violating the Act on Punishment of Physical Violence and inflicting bodily harm.

Upon his arrest, Konogaya denied the allegations. “I was there only to stop the fight,” he said. The other six suspects have declined to comment, police said.

According to reports from June, the brawl involved some 100 persons. The source of the conflict was at least one scout from the group of Konogaya and Nishida attempting to poach a woman already recruited by the other group.

For several days around the time of the incident, gangsters searched for the scouts from the other group on the streets of Kabukicho. The tag “scout hunting” became popular on various social-networking services.