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Tokyo cops break up yakuza extortion ring in Akasaka

Toshiyuki Shionoya
Toshiyuki Shionoya of the Sumiyoshi-kai (TV Asahi)

TOKYO (TR) – Tokyo Metropolitan Police have arrested nine persons, including organized crime members, over an extortion racket allegedly carried out in the Akasaka entertainment area of Minato Ward, reports NHK (Nov. 23).

Between January of 2015 and this past September, Toshiyuki Shionoya, a 50-year-old member of the Sumiyoshi-kai, and his eight associates allegedly collected 3.5 million yen in payments termed mikajimeryo — or “protection money” — from several bars, massage parlors and clubs in the area.

“If you are going to set up shop here, you must be aware of the monthly payment necessary,” the suspects typically said to the management of the businesses.

The suspects have declined to comment on the allegations, police said.

According to police, the Akasaka area is the territory of the Sumiyoshi-kai, which has a nearby office. Businesses targeted by the gang were required to pay between 20,000 yen and 100,00 yen per month.

Police believe that the racket has been ongoing for an extended period, saying the suspects extorted at least 50 million yen from about 30 businesses.

Ginza crackdown

In recent years, police have been attempting to restrict such money-making activities of gangs. In June, police arrested a boss of the Kokusui-kai, a third-tier gang of the Yamaguchi-gumi, and seven other gang members for demanding payment of around 50,000 yen per month for mikajimeryo from a few dozen high-end clubs and bars in the Ginza area of Chuo Ward.