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Police Report

Date Posted: 1998-02-07

A scam which defrauded six telephone companies out of four million yen was finally stopped when investigators and police arrested a couple from mainland Japan on Wednesday. The couple, who came to Okinawa late last year, were unemployed and homeless. They decided they could make money by defrauding telephone companies. In Naha, Okinawa City and Ginowan, the couple used fake health insurance cards as identification to obtain 100 cellular phones. The cards were photocopied, using false names and addresses and used at six separate companies to get the phones. The couple signed contracts to begin paying for the charges in one month's time, as they had no money for down payments. Once the couple had the cell phones, they took them to various flea markets, advertising "Free Calls for 3 Months!" Between early October and late November, the Japanese couple obtained and sold the 100 phones for $100-$200 dollars each and collected nearly 4,000,000. The phones sold out within a month and the telephone companies began to get suspicious when a number of invoices were returned due to incorrect addresses. Investigators from the businesses contacted police for help and after an investigation, the couple was found and questioned. They confessed to the charges and were arrested for fraud.

Last Thursday, Kinjo Choei, 44, a member of the Gyoku Ryuykai Mafia family, was arrested after threatening to put an acquaintance in the hospital. On Jan. 22, Choei was drinking with another man in a snack bar in Itoman City's Arakaki area. In an apparent argument, the office worker began to badmouth Choei, who in turn threatened him with bodily harm, threatening to cut him up "so bad that you'll be in the hospital for 3 months," unless he paid Choei 300,000 within a week. Choei tried to use his Mafia connections to intimidate the man, but his approach seems to have backfired. At the end of the week, the unnamed man called the police, who arrested Choei Thursday evening.

On Saturday evening, a man was killed along Route 329 when he was hit by a cargo van while walking across a pedestrian crosswalk in Okinawa City's Hiyane area. Bunsuke Asato, 60, struck the ground and was killed from the impact while the driver of the van left the scene. Okinawa City police closed down the area to search for the hit and run driver, but were unable to find him. Based on descriptions from witnesses, police went to the home of Tsutomu Nakahoto, a carpenter from Ginowan City, and questioned him. Nakahoto apparently returned home after the accident and began drinking and confessed to the authorities when they arrived an hour later. Nakahoto was arrested and police are investigating the accident.

Late Saturday afternoon, a Naha City tourist agency was burglarized. A woman, working alone in the office before closing, was held at knife-point while a man in dark sunglasses and a knit cap demanded money. When the woman tried to leave, the two became involved in a brief struggle, during which the woman escaped and called the police. The man had fled the scene before police arrived and are still searching for the suspect. He apparently entered the building through a side entrance. The victim described him as a young man around 20 years of age and 165 centimeters in height.

Two men were hospitalized after an early morning street fight in the Yogi area of Naha City on January 21. The victims, ages 21 and 22, were taken to a hospital after witnesses called police when 3 men, Hidehiko Nakaso, Tokuyama Eisaku, and Ryuji Shimozi, all 20 and unemployed, began to attack the other men. The victims, both part-time workers in Naha, suffered cuts on their arms, stomachs and thighs and are expected to be hospitalized for 2 weeks. It is not known what instigated the attack, but police arrived on the scene and arrested the 3 men.

The body of Masae Fukuyama, 62, of Nago City was found on a beach near Nakijin Village after his boat capsized during a fishing trip. He left his home late Friday night to fish in the area one kilometer from the village and failed to return home. Nagaaki Matsuda, 76, of Nakijin Village, went fishing early Saturday morning and noticed a boat floating ahead of him upside down. After a quick search, he failed to find anyone and went to the home of Kouichi Yamakawa, 44, also of Nakijin Village. The two men returned to the beach to further search the area and tried to turn the boat over, but still found no one. As they were returning to the beach, they spotted a body which had been washed in by waves. The two called police, who arrived on the scene with an ambulance, but Mr. Fukuyama was pronounced dead upon arrival. The 11th Maritime Safety Agency and area police are investigating the accident, but it is unknown how the boat capsized.

Naha City police held an anti-drunk driving campaign Saturday night in the Matsuyama area, a popular night spot area filled with snackbars and izakayas. 23 other areas around Naha City were also targets of the campaign. Between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m., 122 police gave out 87 tickets and other fines for various traffic violations. Fifteen people were pulled over for drunk driving, a crime police say they cannot forgive and ask people to please leave your car at home if you are planning on drinking. The drunk drivers were given stiff fines and spent the night in jail. Seven people were given tickets for driving without a valid license and will have to appear in traffic court in the future. Another 52 tickets were given for illegal parking and unhappy drivers came outside of the clubs only to find their vehicles towed. Parking is not a problem in the quiet daylight in the Matsuyama area, but once it gets dark, parking spots fill up and many drivers park illegally on the streets. Last year, Naha police ticketed 4,741 people for driving infractions and arrested another 154 for more serious traffic offenses. Police now say that more campaigns are planned for all areas of Naha, not only the Matsuyama area.

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