On the morning of December 19, Takayuki Ohigashi, 72, the president of Ohsho Food Service, which operates dumpling chain Gyoza no Ohsho (Gyoza King), was shot and killed in Kyoto as he commuted to work.
An employee at the company found the president collapsed near a parking lot for the company’s headquarters in Yamashina Ward and phoned emergency services.
Ohigashi received four wounds to the right part of his chest and abdomen from an unknown gunman. He was confirmed dead by emergency personnel at a nearby hospital.
The assailant fled the scene, and Kyoto Prefectural Police launched a murder investigation.
Since then, reports Shukan Taishu (Jan. 27), the police have been stumped. However, a Japanese informant with connections to organized crime in Dalian, China tells the weekly tabloid that there is no doubt as to who was behind the murder.
“It was the Chinese mafia,” says the source. “They requested that the Ohsho chain pay up protection money to start opening outlets in China, but there were problems.”
The informant says that at one Ohsho establishment in Dalian the Chinese mafia rented the premises one floor above. They then proceeded to pour water down to the unit below. “With this kind of thing, they pestered Ohsho,” says the source.
Gyoza no Ohsho, founded in 1967, is a nationwide chain in Japan with a number of stores overseas that specializes in a variety of grilled dumplings, noodles and other dishes. As of March of this year, the company had 665 outlets.
The chain’s first store opened in Dalian in August of 2005. At the time, it had grand plans for expansion throughout the Communist country. But as of now, it has only four shops in Dalian.
“Because the protection money issue was never resolved, they were never able to move forward,” says the source.
The informant goes on to say that he was asked by a former member of the Chinese mafia to work as an intermediary. But it was an offer he could refuse.
The friction started when the agreement brokered by the local Dalian boss at Ohsho and the Chinese mafia was not approved by the headquarters in Kyoto.
“In an effort to get the agreement passed, the mafia then contacted the Kyoto office,” says the source. “But of course Ohigashi outright refused.”
Their response was to have a Chinese hit man leave four slugs in his torso with a .25 caliber automatic.
“From a Japanese point of view, to kill a person at the top is to end communication,” says a journalist familiar with Chinese affairs. “But in China, it is a way of causing fear. For example, a fight. To topple the strongest guy will cause others to lose their fighting spirit.”
The magazine believes the Chinese perpetrator has fled the country, which makes the chances of the crime remaining unsolved very high.
“A hit man is a freelancer,” says the first source. “He’ll have a substantial cushion between him and whoever hired him. So even if the cops pick him there’s no real chance they’ll track down the boss.”
Source: “Gyoza no Ohsho shacho shasatsu jiken ni shin tenkai Chugoku mafea kuromaku setsu ga kyu fujo,” Shukan Taishu (Jan. 27, pages 79-80)