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No laughing matter: Real estate exec coerced man in debt to cut off finger as ‘a joke’

Shogo Ota
Shogo Ota (Twitter)

TOKYO (TR) – Tokyo Metropolitan Police have arrested a 51-year-old executive at a real estate firm for allegedly forcing a man in debt to cut off one of his fingers, a crime the suspect says was done in jest, reports Sankei Sports (Feb. 8).

Around August 25, 2015, Shogo Ota, a resident of Koriyama City, Fukushima Prefecture, allegedly began ordering an officer (45) at an automobile sales company in Kanagawa Prefecture to either cover his past debt or remove one of his fingers. The officer lopped off the pinky finger of his left hand on September 1.

Ota, who has been accused of coercion and inflicting injury, denies the allegations. “I told him to cut off his finger, but it was a joke,” the suspect was quoted by the the Marunouchi Police Station.

In the world of organized crime, the finger-cutting custom — known as yubitsume — is a deep-rooted act to show responsibility for a transgression.

Selling a Lamborghini to raise funds

According to police, the officer had accumulated 20 million yen in debts to the real estate company for office space for the business dating back to 2013.

Last year, police arrested the victim and sent him to prosecutors for raising funds by selling a Lamborghini owned by a person who had entrusted the sports car to him, according to TV Asahi (Feb. 8).