Since the “black-market job” incident was uncovered, there have been a number of reports of robberies. However, these are only the tip of the iceberg. At Chinese esthetic salons in Tokyo and Saitama, unreported incidents have been occurring frequently.
The owners of a Chinese esthetic salon in the Kanto area have created a community on SNS to share information as needed. In the year and a half since the beginning of last year, there have been about 20 cases of robbery reported there. The number of stores participating in our community is about 100. That means that one out of every five China Esthetic stores has been a victim.
Ms. Wang (pseudonym, in her 40s), a Chinese woman who runs an esthetic salon in Saitama Prefecture, told us this. In January of this year, Wang’s store was also the victim of a robbery.
“The robbers came to the store when there was only one girl working there, pretending to be a customer, and after the treatment was over, they threatened to ask for money,” she said. “It is typical for them to come when there is only one employee in the shop. Our girl didn’t resist, but they beat her up and injured her.”
On May 3, a man visited a massage parlor in Ikebukuro, Tokyo, pulled a knife on a Chinese female clerk, took 20,000 yen and her phone, and fled. Most stores, however, are unable to report robberies to the police. Wang continues.
We do business in a gray area, so we don’t want to get into trouble with the police. Japanese backstreet brothels would turn to the yakuza in such cases, but most Chinese estates do not associate with them.
Neither the half-breeds nor the yakuza have anything to do with this.
Although the owners of the China aesthetic salons cannot rely on either the police or the underworld, they do not intend to weep themselves to sleep. The aesthetic salons have united to fight the robberies by standing up for one another. The founder of the “Chayes Neighborhood Watch,” Mr. Li (a pseudonymous Chinese businessman in his 50s), stated, “There are many robberies in Urawa and Nishi-Nishi.”
We have assigned martial arts-trained officers to each of the major robbery hotspots in Urawa, Nishi-Kawaguchi, Ikebukuro, and Ueno. When we get a call, we head there in less than 10 minutes. Because the offenders are occasionally armed, we also require them to carry batons.
Li claimed that the neighborhood watch organization was started as a result of a robbery that occurred in Ikebukuro in March of this year. One of the assailants was killed when a Chinese business owner used a knife to fight off the band of robbers.
When we heard the news, we became enraged and decided that we, too, must resist the robbers. We pooled our resources to form a neighborhood watch organization. About 10 people are a part of the Neighborhood Watch right now, but that number will grow quickly. The team members are paid 10,000 yen per day, but they are very motivated because they have a contract that guarantees them a bonus of 50,000 yen if they catch a criminal, according to Lee.
The vigilante group and the robbery gang have already started a “dark battle.”
By disclosing the phone numbers used to make reservations and security camera footage, they are attempting to track down the offenders. Some of them have already been located by us. There is no question that the robbers are Japanese based on their tone of voice. Whatever the case, it doesn’t matter if there are semi-gres or yakuza involve. We will vigorously oppose them.
Ms. Wang, the aforementioned female business owner, also said, “Before, if a robber came, I wouldn’t resist,
“Instead of telling my staff to do nothing when robbers show up, I now tell them to use the tear gas we keep on hand to delay the bad guys until the vigilantes can get there. I will not stand by while my money is stolen from me.”
I have high hopes for the vigilante,” he said.
More incidents, however, may occur if the vigilante group becomes more aggressive. Hirotaro Kato, a criminal law expert with Kato & Asakawa Law Office, warn people.
Self-defense against burglars is widely accepted under the Law for the Prevention of Burglary and Robbery. However, if the victim has enough time to call the police but fights back aggressively, self-defense is denied and the victim may be charged with assault or other crimes.
Of course, robbers are the worst offenders, but we hope that when they are victimized, they will be able to depend on the police without fear of punishment.
From the June 2, 2023 issue of FRIDAY
Reporting and writing： Writer: Yuuki Okukubo