TOKYO (TR) – In widening their investigation into a case of child prostitution, Fukuoka and Oita prefectural police on Thursday arrested an organized crime member, reports the Mainichi Shimbun (May 23).
Officers took Kenji Yamashita, an upper member of the Kodo-kai criminal syndicate, and five other suspects into custody for accepting 12.16 million yen in funds between June and December of last year from 42-year-old Kengo Mizoguchi, who was arrested on prostitution charges in January. Yamashita has been charged with violating anti-organized crime laws regarding reception of illegally obtained funds.
The five other suspects are alleged to have received between 30,000 and 1.83 million yen from Mizoguchi over a one-year period ending in January.
Mizoguchi is alleged leader of a prostitution ring. He reportedly received the majority of the revenue accumulated by a 17-year-old girl, who had fled her home in Oita City in November 2011. Over a four-month period, the runaway was sent to hotels in Fukuoka to meet men for between 15,000 and 20,000 yen per session. She was forced to serve five customers per day, police said.
In January, officers raided the Nagoya headquarters of the Kodo-kai, which is an affiliate of the Yamaguchi-gumi, and took Mizoguchi, an executive officer of a company associated with the gang, and ten others into custody for violating child welfare statutes regarding obscenity and the Anti-Prostitution Law.
Prospective clients were recruited via submissions made by the other suspects on “encounter” matchmaking sites, whereby the 17-year-old runaway’s profile was described as a woman in search of enjo kosai (compensated dating) partners.
All six of the suspects arrested on Thursday have reportedly denied the allegations. A total of 22 suspects have been arrested in the case.