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OSAKA — Three men were injured, one seriously, by a group of about 15 young males riding scooters and wielding metal baseball bats in the city of Hirakata, Osaka Prefecture, police said.

The attack, which occurred a little after 3 a.m. Monday, left Shoichi Chimata, 24, unconscious with a fractured skull, while the two other victims sustained injuries that include broken bones and bruises. The trio, who had just left a karaoke parlor, were also robbed of their wallets, police said.

Local police are searching for the attackers, who were riding on seven or eight motorbikes, on suspicion of robbery and attempted murder.

Three other instances in which men on minibikes attacked youths in a similar fashion occurred earlier the same night in Daito, less than 20 km from Hirakata, investigators said. Given the similarities, police suspect the same group was involved.

The 15 on the scooters appeared to range in age from their late teens to their early 20s, and their faces were covered with bandannas.

Robbers miss cash

NAGOYA (Kyodo) Two men stormed into a family restaurant in Nagoya, sprayed a fire extinguisher and made off with part of a cash register but no money.

According to police investigations, the robbers, both wearing black sunglasses and ski masks, entered the Shimizuguchi outlet of the Skylark restaurant chain in the city’s Higashi Ward at around 10:10 p.m. Sunday, snatched the upper part of the register and fled in a station wagon parked nearby.

However, no money was taken because the till was located in the lower part of the register, the police said.

Some 60 diners were in the restaurant during the robbery, police said, and three were later taken to a hospital complaining of nausea as a result of the fire extinguisher spray.

The two bandits spoke to each other in a foreign language, the police quoted eyewitnesses as saying, adding they believe a third person was in the station wagon.

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