Although the underworld is legal in Japan, Yamaguchi group, one of the largest gangs in Japan, is in a worse situation. In recent months, Yamaguchi group has made headlines in Japanese media due to attacks. In addition to the infighting, gang members are also alleged to be involved in the theft of agricultural products and illegal fishing. Since October, a series of new regulations against organized crime have come into force in some parts of Japan. The new regulations also restrict the income sources of gangs.
According to the Japan Times and NHK news on November 28, on Wednesday afternoon, a senior member of the Kobe Yamaguchi group was shot in the street of nizaki City, with head and abdomen injuries. About 10 bullet casings were found at the scene. The 59 year old died on the way to the hospital because of his injuries.
The suspect fled the scene after committing the crime. About an hour later, police stopped the suspect's vehicle in Kyoto and arrested him. According to the police, at the time of being stopped, the suspect once aimed a pistol at the police officers on the scene. Investigators then found a submachine gun and a pistol with five live ammunition in the suspect's car.
According to witnesses, before the crime, kukawa met with the suspect in a bar near the scene of the crime. Police revealed that the suspect was related to the Yamaguchi group, and Guchuan Yi was also an old acquaintance. Before his death, he was attacked by members of the Yamaguchi group in March last year and July this year.
Investigators speculated that the case was a fight within the Yamaguchi group, which has been investigated as a murder. In recent years, the Shankou group, which has experienced division, has been involved in violent conflicts for many times.
On the 100th anniversary of its founding in 2015, according to Fortune magazine, the organization is one of the world's largest and most profitable Mafia organizations, with an annual profit of about 6.6 billion US dollars.
In that year, the Shankou group was divided into Shankou group and Kobe Shankou group; two years later, the Kobe Shankou group was divided into the organization known as Renxia Shankou group, and since then, the three major Shankou groups have been in constant conflict. And the fuse of the split of Shankou group is the imprisonment of No. 2 leader Gao shanqingsi.
In June 2014, Gao shanqingsi was sentenced to six years in prison for fear of terror, and then the Shankou group began to split up; on October 18 this year, the 72 year old Gao shanqingsi was released from prison. Before and after his release, a series of serious infighting broke out in Shankou group.
A week before Gao shanqingsi's release, a member of the Shankou group shot and killed two members of the Kobe Shankou group in front of the police; in August, a member of the Shankou group was shot and killed by the Kobe Shankou group. Just last week, the leader of the Kobe Shankou group was stabbed by members of the Shankou group; a day later, a member of the Shankou group drove into the residence of the cadres of the Kobe Shankou group.
Gao shanqingsi is known for his iron fist tactics. When he was released, the police worried that the internal fighting of Shankou group would be intensified.
While the Yamaguchi group was busy fighting inside, many farmers in Japan suffered the theft of autumn harvest crops. Some people suspected that the theft was related to the gangs.
This month, a local farmer stole about $17000 worth of root vegetables and another farmer stole about 2.7 tons of sweet potatoes, according to media reports in Ibaraki county. In September, 390kg of high-quality rice from a farm in Niigata county was stolen, worth about $3580. At the same time, a large number of apples, grapes and other fruits have been stolen.
Police suspect a link between several root vegetables thefts, but no suspects have been identified. Some farmers believe that the recent theft may be related to gangs, because the sale of large quantities of stolen fruits and vegetables requires a special platform.
In May last year, a former gang leader revealed in an interview that gangs in remote areas are facing business difficulties due to the migration of young people to big cities and the local economic downturn. One of the solutions is to steal crops during the harvest season.
In addition to crops, in September, police arrested members of the Yamaguchi group in Nagasaki for illegal fishing. With the strengthening of legal restrictions on gangs in Japan, gangs with the traditional income sources of collecting protection fees, prostitution, usury, drug trafficking and underground gambling began to choose other ways of income. Illegal fishing is one of them. The researchers point out that gangs have been involved in fishing for nearly a decade.
In 1992, the Japanese parliament passed the law on the Countermeasures of violent groups; in 2011, the Japanese police department issued the regulations on the exclusion of violent groups applicable to the whole country, which cut off the commercial exchanges between enterprises, banks and other social institutions and gangs.
In October this year, a series of revised regulations to combat organized crime were officially implemented in Tokyo's liubenmu, kabuki Machi, Shibuya and 26 other regions. According to the regulations, from October 1, any individual or organization in the relevant region will face up to one year's imprisonment or a fine of 50000 yen (about 3200 yuan) for providing protection fees to criminal groups such as gangs. The aim of this measure is to further crack down on gangs' use of protection fees as a source of income.
With the strengthening of the crackdown and the change of people's attitudes, the statistics of Japan's police department show that the number of members of the Japanese gangs has dropped to 30000 last year, a 14 year continuous decline. At the height of the 1960s, the number of members of the Japanese Mafia once exceeded 180000.
As of last year, Shankou group is still the largest Mafia group with 9500 members, followed by the neighborhood association with 4900 members, and Daochuan association with about 3700 members. Fukuoka county government has set up a transfer project specifically for gang members to provide economic support for former gang members who want to engage in legal work.
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