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Yamaguchi-gumi resumes Halloween event for children

Yakuza members distributed candy to children arriving at the front of the Yamaguchi-gumi compound
Yamaguchi-gumi members distributed candy to children arriving at the front of its compound in Kobe’s Nada Ward on Tuesday

HYOGO (TR) – After a two-year hiatus, Japan’s largest organized crime group on Tuesday resumed a Halloween event at its headquarters in Kobe’s Nada Ward in an effort to build ties with the local community, reports the Kobe Shimbun (Oct. 31).

Over a three-hour period starting at 4:10 p.m., members of the Yamaguchi-gumi distributed wrapped treats, cotton candy and toys, including dolls from a Disney animation, to children arriving at the front its compound.

Inflatables shaped like Jack-o’-lanterns and orange and white flags welcomed the estimated 800 children attired in costumers and their guardians as they picked up the candy and other items at a stand erected just inside the front door. At least one gang member greeted the visitors while attired in an orange wig.

According to the Kobe Shimbun, the move is part of an ongoing attempt to improve the gang’s image. In 2015, the event was not held after the gang splintered, resulting in the formation of the rival Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi. Last year, the event shifted to a nearby shrine.