The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department Organized Crime Control Division General Affair Division (警視庁組織犯罪対策総務課） arrested three members of the Inagawa-kai, Japan’s third largest organized crime group, on April 27th for computer fraud (電子計算機使用詐欺). According to police sources, the three gangsters were operating a sex shop establishment, called “soap-lands” in Japan, and in October of 2010 processed a payment for 22,800 yen as a dining fee, fraudulently obtaining a total of 21,000 yen (approx $230) with the use a false sales slip.
The gangsters allegedly were aware that credit card companies generally refrain from doing contracts with sex service establishments and therefore hid the true nature of their business, pretending that they were running restaurant/bars. It may also be surmised that most many customers would not like their credit card bill to show they were paying for sex.
“Soaplands” occupy a legal grey zone in Japan where customers pay a fee to be given a bath by the attendant and scrubbed clean but sexual intercourse is not guaranteed, but usually included. Fellatio and other sexual services other than actual vaginal penetration are legal in Japan. “Soaplands” are the only walk-in establishments where actual intercourse is also technically legal, as long as the sex is not included in the “bathing fee” price and the two parties move to a private room and engage in an exchange of “free love” (自由愛）.
One gangster is admitting the charges while the other is denying them, possibly claiming that the shops not only offered sex but a dining experience as well. It is not clear that the gangster run “soap lands” offered food and beverage services. “Love juices (愛液)” nor “edible soap” were on the establishment menu and whether they would qualify as a food or beverage is open for debate. It is rumored that nyotaimori (女体盛り）aka “naked sushi”–sushi served on the body of a naked woman was part of what was offered–but even if this was so, since the primary menu item was not edible or drinkable in the traditional sense, it is unlikely that the claims of being a “restaurant and/or bar” will be considered genuine.
According to the police, over a seven year period, the gangsters operated 2o or more sex shops and collected more than 700,000,000 yen (roughly $7,000,000) in credit card payments, showing that soaplands are not only good for laundering people, but probably good for laundering money as well.
Article 246-2. (Computer Fraud)
In addition to the provisions of Article 246, a person who obtains or causes another
to obtain a profit by creating a false electromagnetic record relating to acquisition,
loss or alteration of property rights by inputting false data or giving unauthorized
commands to a computer utilized for the business of another, or by putting a false
electromagnetic record relating to acquisition, loss or alteration of property rights
into use for the administration of the matters of another shall be punished by
imprisonment with work for not more than 10 years.