Not a good week for the big guys

The stolen Peko-chan mascots, from the Sankei News site
The stolen Peko-chan mascots, from the Sankei News site

In unusual yakuza-related news, April 23 saw the sentencing of an ex-Yamaguchi-gumi higher up for a crime that’s worth a chuckle. According to Sankei News, You Inaba, 43, was sentenced to six years in jail for stealing 10 “Peko-chan” statues from Fujiya stores between May 2008 and February 2009 in Wakayama, Osaka and other cities. When laying down the charges, prosecutors said that Inaba “has had a huge effect on society because of the character’s position as a national icon.” Inaba testified that he stole the small statues with plans to sell them to get money for “drugs and entertainment.” The dolls are estimated to be worth a total of ¥590,000. Business must have been slow…

Meanwhile, here in the Kanto area, FNN reports that four Inagawa-kai bosses were arrested for threatening a ramen cart owner for shobadai, or protection money, near Tokyo station in December of last year. The four testified that the cart owner had a bad attitude, and that they demanded ¥20,000 from him while yelling, “Don’t make fun of the yakuza!”

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