Illegal Tokyo Casino Shook Down By Japanese Yakuza Spawns Arrests

Posted on: April 29, 2022, 05:57h. 

Last updated on: April 29, 2022, 01:04h.

Police in Tokyo, Japan, shut down an illegal gaming hall operating in the Shinjuku district last fall. The subsequent investigation uncovered illegal shakedowns, and police have now arrested four yakuza-tied extortionists.

Japan Yakuza
Alleged members of a Japanese yakuza, above. Four members of one criminal gang are in custody for shaking down an illegal gambling hall. (Image: Getty Images)

All four are low-level operatives of a local yakuza group, the Sumiyoshi-kai crime syndicate, who were shaking down the casino for money.

The quartet of criminals allegedly shook down the illegal gambling operation four times from August to November last year. They took around ¥1.1 million (US$8,400) in total through their extortion scheme, according to reports. Other businesses in the area were likely victims of the same group. However, police aren’t providing more details.

One of the arrested individuals is a former YouTube influencer, Shunta “Tekisasu” Sakai, who is also a part of the Sumiyoshi-kai gang. This is the second-largest yakuza group in Japan, with an estimated 4,000 members, according to local media, The Mainichi.

The yakuza have notoriously been involved in drugs, gambling and human trafficking. One boss warned four years ago that even the country’s legal integrated resort market was fair game for the gangs.

Yakuza Continue to Fall

After a recent yakuza boss fell into a huge trap, one yakuza group is scrambling to avoid law enforcement.

Takeshi Ebisawa tried to broker large deals in Myanmar with at least three insurgent groups, according to an indictment unsealed in a US federal court earlier this month. He also traded weapons, including surface-to-air missiles manufactured in the US, for heroin and meth.

The 57-year-old, who allegedly ran the yakuza faction, didn’t know that he was actually in the middle of a sting. The man who organized the sales was, in reality, an agent undercover for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

After three years ‘ worth of secret meetings, the feds finally arranged a dinner for Ebisawa in Manhattan’s Morton’s Steakhouse. It was an international affair, with the meetings in Bangkok, Copenhagen, Bali, and other locations.

But when Ebisawa arrived at the steak house, the DEA arrested him and two others during the meeting. They arrested a fourth co-conspirator the following day.

Long List of Charges

The yakuza boss is now looking at a long list of serious charges. Among these are conspiracy to import narcotics, conspiracy to possess deadly firearms, conspiracy to commit laundering money, and conspiracy to acquire, transfer, and possess anti-aircraft missiles.

Ebisawa will remain behind bars until his trial over concerns that he may try to head underground.