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Sixty-five young women were taken into so-called protective custody for their roles in robberies, extortion attempts or other forms of intimidation last year, a jump of 42 from the previous year, according to statistics made public April 29 by the Metropolitan Police Department.

According to the MPD, 240 boys and girls, age 19 or younger, were taken into custody in 1997 for their suspected roles in robberies, a 46 percent increase from the previous year. There were 730 others taken into custody for their suspected roles in extortion cases. Singling out female minors, 17 were taken into custody in robbery cases, four times the previous year level, and 48 in intimidation cases, a 26 percent jump from the previous year.

In October, two girls were arrested together with a male youth accomplice on charges of hitting a 45-year-old man they got to know through telephone clubs, breaking his nose and robbing him of 100,000 yen, according to the MPD. MPD officers noted that girls are also becoming increasingly involved in injury and other cases of violence.

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