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Ginza clubs concerned about Chinese scammers

Shukan Jitsuwa June 11
Shukan Jitsuwa June 11

Earlier this week, the United States Embassy in Tokyo said in a special warning that it has been receiving a large number of complaints about theft and fraud taking place in the popular nightlife areas of Kabukicho and Roppongi.

The advisory suggested that U.S. citizens be on guard when going out to bars and clubs in these areas.

The ritzy Ginza area was not included, but weekly tabloid Shukan Jitsuwa (June 11) says that merchants in the area are concerned about the increasing number of scams being pulled by Chinese nationals.

The 1,800-member Ginza Shop Keepers Association would like the area to be the “world’s safest entertainment district.” Shukan Jitsuwa mentions a warning the association issued in 2012 about female Chinese street touts working in pairs to lure unsuspecting customers into disreputable establishments.

“Recently, Chinese nationals have been buying up clubs,” says a club employee about the warning. “Typically, drunk customers are pulled into these places and their credit cards are skimmed. The number of touts pulling this kind of thing has really escalated. There are also cases of customers being robbed after having their drinks spiked.”

A club owner in the Ginza 8-chome area claims the recent rash of incidents are due to anti-gang legislation that has been passed over the past few years.

“The crimes by the Chinese people are out of control due to ‘gang exclusion regulations‘ that have been enforced,” says a club owner in the Ginza 8-chome area. “It is because the police, who have since taken over the role of the gangsters in the local area, do not take action. These regulations are evil.”

It is not just Chinese residents causing trouble, says Shukan Jitsuwa. The surge in visitors from the Communist nation, many of whom can be seen disembarking from multiple tour buses along Ginza’s Chuo-dori, are also ruffling feathers.

According to the Japan National Tourism Organization, the 1.76 million tourist arrivals for April set a record. The 405,800 visitors from China were the most of any country.

The perceived lack of manners of these tourists does not go over well with the locals. A restaurant proprietor says that dozens of Chinese tourists will enter a restaurant but only order minimal portions, with those not eating being satisfied to drink the complimentary tea.

“Having Chinese tourists in your place is a sure way to kill off business,” says the manger of a small restaurant. “You won’t laugh; you’ll cry. It is like the kiss of death.”

Shukan Jitsuwa suggests that the government take action — and quick. (A.T.)

Source: “Botta kuri-ten zokushutsu dantai kankokyaku no senkyo…Chugokujin ni arasa reru Ginza kaiwai,” Shukan Jitsuwa (June 11, pages 46-47)