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Tokyo cops reluctant to crack down on foreign club touts over racism fears

Shukan Jitsuwa Jan. 3
Shukan Jitsuwa Jan. 3

Officers from the anti-organized crime division of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police last month arrested the 42-year-old manager of club Vegas, located in Tokyo’s Kabukicho red-light district, and nine other suspects on theft charges after a 33-year-old male customer was allegedly robbed of 600,000 yen between 2:00 and 4:00 a.m. on October 17.

The manager, who is from Nigeria, is alleged to have taken the victim’s bank card and withdrawn the cash from an ATM machine after he had fallen into a drunken stupor. The victim’s personal identification number is believed to have been obtained after he was escorted to a machine earlier in the evening to retrieve cash to pay his bill.

Weekly tabloid Shukan Jitsuwa (Jan. 3) believes that the ease in which these crimes in Tokyo are committed by foreigners, including Nigerians, is due to fear on the part of the police.

“Crimes by Nigerians in Tokyo began to surge 10 years ago,” a writer from the city desk of a newspapers tells the tabloid. “Using racial discrimination as the reason, they’ve appealed to the (Nigerian) embassy, and had pressure put on the police. As a result, the authorities have shown reluctance in cracking down and these crimes have spread.”

A restaurant manager in Roppongi offers further elaboration. “A while back, a low-level organized crime member who deals with trouble and works for a particular sex shop roughed up a Kenyan who was touting for a rival club,” says the manager. “The tout filed a complaint with the embassy seeking a crackdown on yakuza violence.”

The manager of a talent agency expresses his frustration, telling the tabloid that he raised a complaint with a bar in Kabukicho that was using photographic images of entertainers in its advertising. “I got my mobile phone smashed when I raised the issue with a Nigerian street tout. All that happened was a low-level yakuza member got arrested. In the end, the bar was taken over by a Nigerian.”

Investigators believe that the suspects in the incident in December had collected one billion yen in revenue through similar means since opening the club in 2006. Law enforcement is aware of eight other incidents since September of last year in which customers have been robbed of at least three million yen.

Shukan Jitsuwa suspects that law enforcement will continue burying its collective head in the sand, meaning that an end to crimes by foreigners is not near.

Source: “Naijeriajin konsui goto jiken de wakkata Kabukicho de gaikokujin hanzaisha ga manen no riyu,” Shukan Jitsuwa (Jan. 3, page 47)