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Hyogo cops: Vehicle rams yakuza HQ in Awaji

Outside the headquarters of the Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi in Awaji
Outside the headquarters of the Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi in Awaji

HYOGO (TR) – Hyogo Prefectural Police have made an arrest after a vehicle rammed the headquarters of the Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi organized crime group in Awaji City, reports NHK (April 11).

Just before 6:00 a.m. on Monday, a passenger vehicle damaged a wall after slamming into the entrance of the office, located in the Shizuki area.

Police subsequently arrested the driver of the vehicle, Hiroshi Yoshiwara, 52, on charges of destruction of property.

“I am not a gang member, and I didn’t know this is a gang office,” the suspect is quoted by police. “I made a mistake in driving.”

Police, however, have reason to believe that the suspect is indeed a gang members. As well, a man was heard asking a convenience store clerk in nearby Sumoto City for directions to the office about 20 minutes before the incident.

Police are viewing the incident in Awaji as a part of an ongoing feud involving the Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi, which formed in Hyogo Prefecture following the dissolution of the Yamaguchi-gumi last summer. Since the middle of February, a turf war between the two gangs has escalated with an outbreak of multiple shootings, fire bombings and car-ramming incidents.

Last week, the National Public Safety Commission announced that the Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi will be designated as a boryokudan, or “violent organization.”

The office is also the headquarters of the Kyoyu-kai, which is one of the gangs that left the Yamaguchi-gumi to form the Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi.