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Tokyo: Members of extortion ring swindled men in illicit photo scam

Gaku Oshiro (left) and Masaru Shimosato
Gaku Oshiro (left) and Masaru Shimosato (Twitter)

TOKYO (TR) – Tokyo Metropolitan Police have arrested two persons who are believed to be members of a notorious extortion ring that targeted men by making false claims in connection with the taking of illicit photographs, reports the Mainichi Shimbun (May 18).

According to police, the suspects are Masaru Shimosato, a 29-year-old resident of Ota Ward, and Gaku Oshiro, 23, both of whom have been accused of attempted blackmail.

On May 12, the suspects played various roles in accusing a 39-year-old man of taking tosatsu, or voyeur, photographs of the lower body of a woman on a road in the Jingumae area of Shibuya Ward, near JR Harajuku Station.

In carrying out the ruse, Shimosato approached the victim, falsely saying, “That’s my girlfriend.” The victim was then ordered to pay 1 million yen as an out-of-court settlement.

The suspects are believed to have committed the same crime repeatedly, with the victims being directed to consumer-finance companies to pay the demanded amounts, according to police.

In the Harajuku case, the victim was asked to meet the suspects near JR Gotanda Station to make such a payment. However, the victim had previously alerted police, who apprehended the suspects upon their arrival.

On the same day of the original crime, one of the suspects posed as the older brother of a woman in a separate case, police said.

The ring has developed a reputation, being known by law enforcement as the “Black Tosatsu Hunters.”