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Hyogo cops raid Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi offices in extortion investigation

Hyogo police entered the Kenkoku-kai
Hyogo police entered the main office of the Kenkoku-kai in Suma Ward on Tuesday (TBS News)

HYOGO (TR) – Hyogo Prefectural Police on Tuesday raided offices of gangs affiliated with the Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi in Kobe as a part of an investigation into alleged extortion of businesses in the Sannomiya entertainment district, reports TBS News (Oct. 3).

At around 7:30 a.m., police entered the main office of the Kenkoku-kai, located in Suma Ward, in search of evidence connected with the alleged extortion — termed mikajimeryo, or “protection money” — from bars and parlors in Sannomiya, which is located in Chuo Ward.

Police had previously arrested Naoyuki Ishida, a 55-year-old upper-level member of Kenkoku-kai, Shinichi Kobayashi, a 51-year-old upper-level member of the Yamaken-gumi, another affiliate of the Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi, and two other gangsters for allegedly collecting a total of 320,000 yen from three businesses between March and August.

According to police, the suspects charged the businesses between 20,000 and 50,000 yen each month.

Also on Tuesday, officers entered the headquarters of the Yamaken-gumi, located in Kobe’s Chuo Ward.

JR Sannomiya Station

In May, Hyogo police launched an investigation aimed at countering the money-making activities of criminal syndicates in Sannomiya — a stronghold of the Yamaken-gumi — and Amagasaki City.

Police estimate that about 150 businesses in and around JR Sannomiya Station have made 200 million yen in mikajimeryo payments and yojimbo-dai (“bodyguard fees”) to criminal syndicates since 1985.