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Bar, club owners blow the whistle on five extortionists

Date Posted: 2006-10-27

Okinawa City bar entertainment club operators banded together this week and turned their troubles over to Okinawa Prefecture Police.

The bar, nightclub, salon and snack owners in the Misato Area told police they’d been the victims of an extortion scheme where they were forced to pay money each month as a “territory fee” to a gangster group that is known as the Uezato family of the Gyokuryu-kai gangster organization.

Police arrested five gang members and charged them with blackmail and extortion. They’d been calling on the entertainment spots and demanding money, saying “It has been decided by our organization you have to pay us for a territory fee of ¥10,000 each month.” Small snack owners made payments of ¥3,000~5,000, saying they didn’t have more.

When the gangster extortionists became upset and demanded “Why don’t you pay ¥10,000 like others pay?”, the small snack owners turned to police. Police say the extortionists had collected ¥2,000,000 from the 50 night spots between January and June. Police say they would not have uncovered the scheme if the snack owners had not stepped forward. “People are afraid to tell police,” said one officer.

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