Yakuza bosses are struggling to upgrade 3G phones

Criminals are shaken by telecom giants.

Although they have to deal with the cutting edge of business and territory on a regular basis, you would think that yakuza bosses balance things out by enjoying the best things in life like expensive meals and state-of-the-art electronics.

However, when it comes to smartphones, it seems so much of the upper brass in these groups cannot be upgraded from those old cell phonesknown as “garakei” or “feature phones” in Japan. This is becoming a more pressing issue as the three major telecommunications companies – Au, SoftBank and DoCoMo – are either ready to drop 3G service or already have.

Even fans of these older styles of mobile phones can get for their simplicity and reliability newer versions with 4G capability, but that is not yet an option for older yakuza. The reason is that they have been unable to sign a contract since 2011.

That was when prefectural governments passed “Organized Crime Exclusion Orders” (Boryokudan Haijo Jorei) across the country, preventing companies from doing business with members of the yakuza. Since then The contracts of mobile service providers oblige signatories to swear that they are not members of such groups, in order to avoid liability in the event that a customer turns out to be a gangster..

▼ The phones themselves can be bought quite easily, but the SIM card is the problem

Image: Pakutaso

It may seem strange that these people seem to be upstairs just lying on the contract, but they have a good reason not to. Senior members in particular are under increased scrutiny by the police, who are looking for any pretext to arrest them, and with a sharp and dry case of contract fraud, the authorities can investigate their business in more detail. Another solution would be to just make someone else do that contract, but that also constitutes fraud and leads to the same results.

This is not just paranoid talk either. In 2017, Kunobe Inoue, head of the Kobe Yamaguchi-Gumi, was arrested for fraud when he and a female accomplice conspired to get a new phone. The charges themselves did not amount to much but it allowed the Hyogo Prefectural Police to search the group’s headquarters and investigate other members.

In 2020, Hokkaido Prefectural Police arrested a 46-year-old Yakuza member for fraud for signing a mobile contract in 2018, which had a clause in which he stated that he was not part of the group. Although not connected to smartphones, a similar incident also occurred in 2019 when a member was arrested for signing a similar contract to get a part-time job at a post office.

▼ When it comes to sound proof, the pen is more powerful than the sword

Image: Pakutaso

As a result of all this, yakuza members are safer following the contracts they signed before 2011 and will leave those as long as possible.. That’s why you’ll rarely, if ever, see an older Yakuza member with a smartphone, even though younger members might get them by making contracts more recently before joining their separate groups.

However, as mobile phone technology continues to advance rapidly, they too will find themselves facing the same problem soon. On the other hand, yakuza groups have once again shown their ingenuity, even finding ways to make money by stealing sea cucumbers in the middle of the night and adopting Photoshop skills. They can also find a way around this.

Source: News Post Seven, Tokyo Sports Website, Boryokudan News, Hachima Kiko
Top image: Pakutaso
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