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Cops crack down on Shimbashi hostess clubs that prey on drunk customers

Shuichi Toyama
Shuichi Toyama

TOKYO (TR) – As a part of a crackdown on a growing number of bars defrauding customers in the Shimbashi area, Tokyo Metropolitan Police raided two Chinese clubs for licensing violations, reports the Sankei Shimbun (Oct. 30).

Police accused Shuichi Toyama, 40, of operating hostess clubs Lilac and Hima without a license under the Law Regulating Adult Entertainment Businesses.

According to police, the clubs are among those responsible for the recent increase in incidents of bottakuri, or bill padding.

A typical bottakuri scam for a such a club involves a female Chinese tout calling out to a clearly drunk male pedestrian. After a kiss and a firm embrace, he is directed back to the bar, where he is provided strong alcohol. Thereafter, his credit cards are stolen and repeatedly abused.

Over the past two years, the number of such crimes has jumped. In 2014, police received 164 complaints in which the damage totaled 60 million yen. Through September of this year, the number of complaints was 185 with the total damage reaching 63 million yen.

In most cases, a victim will not recall the incident. Therefore, it is difficult for police to determine whether a customer was also drugged.

According to NHK (Oct. 30), police have received about 40 complaints of bottakuri resulting from the two clubs operated by Toyama. The clubs charge a fee of 4,000 yen per hour but customers lodging complaints with police reported being billed for more than 100,000 yen after a visit.