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Number of violent motorcycle gangs decreasing rapidly

Date Posted: 2003-10-11

The number of incidents involving violent motorcycle gangs, so called “bozozoku,” is rapidly decreasing, according to officials and the Okinawa Prefectural Police. Police attribute the decrease to the new law that took effect on July 1. The new law targets the young spectators who often lined the streets cheering when the motorcycle gang members were showing off. The new law gives the police power to fine anyone who shows encouragement or support to the bozozoku up to ¥100,000.

The law has effectively scared away the crowds and stripped gang members of the satisfaction of an admiring audience. And what is a performer without a fan. According to an Okinawa Prefectural Police spokesman, the police handled 1,140 cases involving bozozoku gangs in Okinawa City between January and June. The number a year ago for the same period was 1,969. Since the new law went to effect in July, there have been only 495 cases, a 45.4 percent reduction.

Streets in Naha City have also quieted down remarkably since July. The police are pleased. A spokesman for Naha City Police said that although they still go after motorcycle gangs, the new law has really given the police teeth to combat the problem. “We have arrested 110 riders belonging to some 24 gangs this year. But since the supporters disappeared there has not been much for us to do. When no one is watching their antics, there is not much incentive for these gang members to do it,” the spokesman said.

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