• Kyodo News


Two men with links to a major crime syndicate have been served with fresh arrest warrants for allegedly smuggling forged taxi coupons from China, the Metropolitan Police Department said Wednesday.

Police said they have also confiscated more than 10,000 fake coupons, including those used or exchanged for cash, and are investigating how they were brought to and sold in Japan.

Mitsuharu Ban, 57, a member of a gang under the Sumiyoshi-kai crime syndicate, and Toshio Aizawa, 55, who once belonged to the group, were already under arrest on separate charges of importing or using fake documents.

Ban and Aizawa are alleged to have imported a parcel containing around 5,700 forged 500 yen and 100 yen coupons from China early last August and several thousand more later in the month.

The coupons were copies of those issued by the Tokyo Taxi Association.

Another person worked with the two and brought around 7,000 coupons to a shop specializing in trading in various coupons and merchandise certificates in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, between late August and early September, police said. They were exchanged for cash totaling around 2.9 million yen, they said.

Of them, some 900 500 yen coupons and about 600 100 yen certificates have been used to pay for taxi charges, police said.

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