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Night clubs & underground banks


Unswerving cyclist
14 Mar 2002
The ABC of yakuza, Part II:

Yakuza turf turns ugly as underworld overrun by aliens

Night clubs:

Keep your eyes open because there are scam artists galore. A nightclub might lure you in with a flat 5,000 yen fee for the night. But lo and behold, you'll get hit with a bill for 25,000 or 30,000 yen. If you complain, you'll find that true, your drinks cost only 5,00 yen. But you're charged 5,000 yen per bottle for the beer that the cute hostess drank with you. And ditto for the small plate of snacks.

Underground banks:

One Chinese hostess tells Yomiuri Weekly that she runs the risk of attracting the Chinese mafia's attention whenever she sends money home through an underground bank. "In Kabukicho, it's the Chinese you've got to worry about, they're the most dangeorus," she says. Unlike legitimate banks, the underground banks don't require an I.D., and they don't ask questions. And it only takes one day for the money to reach the hands of your waiting family. All you have to do is to pay a hefty fee -- 5% of the transaction amount. Yomiuri Weekly writes that these underground banks became a problem in the early 90's -- along with an increase in the number of illegal aliens. Presently there are some 400 underground banks in Kabukicho alone. The day-to-day operations are generally run by a Japanese, but the Chinese are usually behind the scenes. Clients are mostly Chinese and Korean workers. Chinese smugglers, such as "Snake Head," also use the banks to pay for the transporation of their illegal ware, and Chinese mobsters use them to launder money.

Local mobsters:

Right now Kabukicho is home to seven Japanese mobster families. Organized criminial groups, both Japanese and foreign, run 50 underground casinos that deal with millions of yen a day. That's certainly more than pocket change. On a smaller scale but just as pernicious are the rings of thieves. They execute well-planned attacks on upscale boutiques, stealing mostly watches and designer goods. The hot merchandise is then sold for one-tenth the original sticker price at nightclubs after hours. One regular shoplifter tells Yomiuri Weekly, "The rule is that the goods must still have the original price tag and label. And Louis Vuitton bags have to be in boxes." They're also careful not to sell any stolen goods to the Japanese. As an informed source explains, "If you sell to a Japanese, there's a possibility that the merchandise will eventually wind up in a pawn shop and might be traced."

=> http://mdn.mainichi.co.jp/waiwai/0302/0217kabukicho.html
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