A number of “drunken robberies” targeting female store clerks in Shinjuku’s Golden Gai. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

A number of “drunken robberies” targeting female store clerks in Shinjuku’s Golden Gai.

Robberies include forcing women to drink large amounts of alcohol and then running away, stealing cell phones, and making unauthorized withdrawals of 300,000 yen in electronic money. ......

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A five-minute walk from the east exit of Shinjuku Station. Shinjuku Golden Gai is located between the buildings of Shinjuku City Office and Hanazono Shrine. In this area, where nearly 300 small bars are crowded in a narrow space, an incident has been occurring recently. The owner of a nearby bar, who knows the incident well, reveals the details.

One day in early November, an incident occurred at a bar called “C” in Golden Gai. One day in early November, the incident took place at a shop called ‘C’ in Golden Gai. A young female clerk named A was standing alone in the store when a man came in at first glance. Ms. A is a strong drinker and usually doesn’t get drunk, but at that moment, she suddenly became unconscious. I heard that the bill was over 300,000 yen at that point. After that, the man asked Ms. A to ‘lend me her cell phone because she forgot it,’ and seeing her gap, he ran off drinking with the phone. The next day, 300,000 yen was withdrawn from her bank account via LINE Pay.

When I visited the victim, Ms. A, she told the FRIDAY reporter about her current state of mind.

I can’t talk about it because the police are still investigating. I can’t talk about it because the police are still investigating, but it’s been a month now and I’m still so scared and frustrated that I can’t sleep properly at night.

When I asked her about it, she told me that this kind of incident has been happening frequently since last year. A mama of another restaurant who was victimized described her experience.

It was last summer,” she said. A young man came in and started talking about how his grandmother was rich, even though we hadn’t asked him. He took out his credit card to pay the bill, but when I held the edge of the card, he grabbed it and wouldn’t let go. Immediately after I got suspicious, the guy started running and got away with a drink.

Later, a girl had her wallet stolen from another store, and when she checked her credit card history later, she found that 400,000 yen had been spent at a cabaret club.

Why are such crimes occurring so often? I spoke to a union official.

The number of customers, including foreign customers, plummeted after the Covid-19 disaster. After that, old establishments closed their doors in response to the request for self-restraint, and new ones opened one after another in the vacant spaces. The number of stores where young girls stand alone has increased. I think that’s where they’re targeting.

A “place of relaxation” where writers, film directors and other cultural figures gather has become a stage for despicable crimes. Currently, the Yotsuya Police Department is said to be investigating the case. We can only hope that the case will be solved as soon as possible.

  • PHOTO Takero Kizuna

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