NPA targets gangsters’ cash

A proposed revision to the Antigang Law will enable law enforcement officials to demand that designated underground organizations lodge with judicial authorities sums equivalent to amounts that victims of criminal groups claim are being extorted. The draft is being revised by the National Police Agency, it was learned Feb. 13, and is a new effort to reduce extortion by organized criminal groups.

The NPA has recently been revising the 1992 Antigang Law and if this most recent revision is enacted, the new law will have sharp teeth with which to deprive gangs of illicit financing, observers said. NPA officials said underworld syndicates have been putting funds raised through illegal activities into stocks and depositing the investments into bank accounts under false names, making it difficult for law enforcement authorities to track down their finances.

The police have informed taxation authorities about the gangs’ illicitly collected income in a bid to at least impose taxes, but their measures have not been effective, they said.

If the revision passes the Diet, public security commissions will be able to order underworld organizations to lodge deposits with regional justice bureaus equivalent to the amount crime victims claim to have lost if the gangs are found to have raised such funds through threats or blackmail, they said. If the procedure is enacted, victims will be able to retrieve their money from gangs’ deposits at the justice bureaus, if the money is shown to belong to them under the Civil Law.