A beautiful woman was forced to chug down a bottle of sake that was over 90 degrees Celsius…and the number of such cases is rapidly increasing in Yokohama’s entertainment district! Knock-Down Theft” is too dangerous! | FRIDAY DIGITAL

A beautiful woman was forced to chug down a bottle of sake that was over 90 degrees Celsius…and the number of such cases is rapidly increasing in Yokohama’s entertainment district! Knock-Down Theft” is too dangerous!

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Touts standing in a corner of the entertainment district. They were changing places regularly, perhaps exchanging information about the flow of customers or crackdowns on them.

They were always saying, “Hey, Onii-san! There are many cheap and pretty girls here.

If you fall for such sweet words, you may end up in trouble.

A number of drunken customers have been taken by employees to snack bars and other places in the entertainment district of Yokohama City, where they are withdrawn large amounts of cash from ATM machines and then stolen. The most vicious part of this is the method used. When customers are lured into a bar by a tout, the cast member falsifies the alcohol content and forces the customer to drink a 90-degree drink in one gulp. Customers soon lose consciousness and their money is stolen. The local police call this “knockdown theft” because of the technique of inducing intoxication in an instant by making the customer drink highly concentrated liquor, and they are becoming increasingly vigilant.

On a weekend in late February, we walked through Fukutomi-cho, an entertainment district with many reported cases of knockdown theft.

More than 200 restaurants, snack bars, and adult entertainment establishments are clustered in a 300-meter square block. As we walked, we saw two foreign women standing everywhere. All of them are dressed the same, in knit hats, down coats, and jeans. They are touts, known as “pilots” in the area. The word “pilot” is said to be derived from the English word “pilot,” meaning a navigator.

They say, “You can have a drink for 3,000 to 4,000 yen.

There are many cute girls from China, Korea, the Philippines, and Russia. There are many pretty girls here.

As we arrived at the main street, the number of pilots increased. We entered one of the snack bars. When I told the odd Chinese cast member next to me that it was my first time in Fukutomicho, two additional Chinese girls soon appeared.

Surrounded by the three beauties, we finally toasted. I fearfully took the sake that was poured into my mouth and ……. It tasted like ordinary water. It seemed that it was not a bad store.

Don’t be so scared. We are not a rip-off (laugh). (Laughs.) When people, myself included, get permanent resident visas, they become afraid of deportation. So, on the contrary, be careful in restaurants where many girls have been in Japan for a short period of time. These days, there are many places that make their customers drink strong alcohol to get them drunk and steal their money. If you go to a bad store, they will rip you off by the hair of your ass.

When the customers are too drunk to make sound judgments, they are told that they are forced to withdraw money in a deceptive manner by threatening to call the police if they don’t pay, or by making a gesture of cuddling up to them and saying, “I’ll go with you to the ATM. Another woman said that an acquaintance of hers was actually a victim of knock-down theft.

She said, “When I wasn’t there, I went to another store and they stole a total of 900,000 yen from an ATM. Another person had a 600,000 yen watch and 500,000 yen in cash in her bag stolen. Neither of them had any memory when they were hit.”

When I left the store at 2 a.m., I found a young man sitting on the side of the road nearby. He was obviously intoxicated. A figure approached the man. …… A foreign woman in a pailer approached him. Half-way forcibly, she linked arms with the man and they disappeared into the night.

Damage has been in the hundreds of millions.”

Knockdown thefts have been occurring one after another for several years. According to Kanagawa Prefectural Police, in the year of ’22, there were about 150 victims who consulted with the police about a total of about 75 million yen. Last year, when the new Corona was classified as a Class 5 model, the number of victims was about 250 and the amount of damage doubled to about 150 million yen. However, a senior police official speculated, “My sense on the ground is that the number of victims and the amount of damage should be doubled even more.

The police are only aware of the amount of damage that has been reported to them. There must be a large number of people who have cried themselves to sleep and given up on seeking advice. As a matter of fact, last year alone, the number of victims was around 500 and the amount of damage reached 300 million yen.

Of course, these acts fall under the crime of theft. Another method is to take credit cards and make payments without permission, in which case they are charged with fraud. Both are criminal acts.

Convenience stores in the Fukutomi neighborhood are stepping up their vigilance, including stakeouts, in response to the high incidence of such acts. However, it seems that the rip-off stores, perhaps as a countermeasure, sometimes put the targeted customers in their cars and take them to a nearby convenience store in the Minato Mirai 21 district to withdraw their money.

Let us introduce a story from a businessman who was actually a victim. Last fall, when visiting Yokohama on a business trip, he and his business partner went out for two drinks, and around the time the sun went down, he was looking for a third place to go alone when he was taken into a bar by a tout.

I was so inebriated that when I woke up in my hotel bed, all the contents of my wallet, which had nearly 100,000 yen in it, had been drained. At first I tried to convince myself, ‘Is this just another lesson for drinking too much? But later I found out that a total of over 1 million yen had been withdrawn from my bank account, and I also received a 1 million yen bill from my credit card company. It happened so fast that even now I can’t stop being angry.”

The businessman immediately reported the damage to the police. However, the police have not yet been able to expose the store. However, the police have not yet been able to expose the shop, because there is no physical evidence of the crime. For example, unless there is a security camera recording of the clerk at the rip-off store operating the ATM himself, he cannot be charged with a crime. Also, it is surprisingly difficult to make a case against unauthorized use of credit cards, since it is considered as payment for food and beverages.

With no progress in crackdowns, the number of victims is expected to continue to increase. In the end, it is up to you to protect yourself.

A female tout talks to a man who is sitting on the street looking drunk. They crossed arms as they were, and the two of them went back out into the night.
Down coats and jeans seem to be the uniform. When she showed up around 8 pm, she continued touting until after 7 am the next morning.

From the March 22, 2024 issue of FRIDAY

  • Reporting and writing Masahiro Ojima (nonfiction writer) + this magazine's research team PHOTO Takero Bund

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