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New law gives police more control over motorcycle gangs

Date Posted: 2002-05-03

Anyone who has lived in Japan for any length of time has seen or heard of bosozoku, or gangs on motorcycles who ride with seeming impunity at all hours on streets flying flags and brandishing long sticks. These gangs, although seldom dangerous often disturb traffic and cause a lot of noise.

A new law that gives police the power to arrest members of motorcycle gangs on grounds of merely threatening traffic safety and violence against people or damage to property took effect May 1. Before, police could not arrest these members before they caused an accident or other damage.

The new law led to the first arrest in Okinawa City, Friday, when Okinawa City Police arrested two boys who were found driving a 400 cc motorcycle on Moromi with its muffler removed, at 3:30 a.m. The motorcycle also lacked the number plate, another trademark of bosozoku. The youth riding on the back seat of the motorcycle was flying a white flag on a long pole with words “Monster Group” written on it. Both were charged with endangering traffic safety.

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