FUKUOKA (TR) – Fukuoka Prefectural Police on Friday announced the issuance of a warned to a member of the Kudo-kai organized crime group over the repeated extortion of hostess clubs in Yahatanishi Ward of Kitakyushu, reports the Mainichi Shimbun (Sept. 26).
Over 15 years, Kosho Watanabe, a 41-year-old upper member of the gang, is accused of extorting 30 million yen in protection fees — dubbed mikajimeryo — from 16 “snack” hostess clubs and bars over the past 15 years.
Watanabe requested that the establishments, some of were some which had posted an emblem indicating entrance by gang members is not permissible, pay between 10,000 to 50,000 yen per month. Between March and May, the clubs paid a total of 480,000 yen to the gang member.
On June 25, one owner told Watanabe that his payments would cease. The gang member responded by telephone with a veiled threat, saying that he would pay him a visit.
In June of last year, revised regulations made blackmail threats by telephone prohibited. The case involving Watanabe is the first since the modification.
“As for the 16 establishments, they are just the tip of the iceberg,” a representative of the Fukuoka police is quoted. “Regrettably, the practice of mikajimero is continuing. We are now striving for publicity awareness of the (revised) ordinance.”