- Two men seriously hurt in crash near Fruitland (9/21/16)3
- Perryville man arrested for alleged patronizing prostitution, harassment (9/23/16)6
- Video and evidence largely confirm trooper's claims in April traffic stop shooting (9/23/16)7
- Cape man may lose eye after shovel beating, police say (9/25/16)2
- Funeral procession of former Cape Girardeau police chief Henry H. Gerecke (9/22/16)17
- Cape man accused of attacking pregnant girlfriend (9/22/16)
- Driver charged with manslaughter in crash that killed 2 (9/27/16)
- Show Me Center upgrades may allow facility to draw more elaborate shows (9/21/16)17
- Man convicted of Perryville convenience-store heist (9/21/16)
- Planning, design puts renovations of H-H building into hotel on hold (9/26/16)4
Poor economy increases Japan's gang violence
TOKYO -- Brawls in popular nightspots. Shootouts in the swank Ginza shopping area. Underworld headquarters riddled with bullets.
As police work to contain a power struggle within one of Japan's richest underworld syndicates, an unusual wave of high-profile gangland violence has gripped Tokyo.
Police refuse to discuss details, other than to confirm the number and locations of shootings. But experts say it underscores a larger concern -- how a decade of crackdowns and economic hard times have made Japan's "yakuza" underworld increasingly volatile, and violent.
"These are desperate times for gangs," said Atsushi Mizoguchi, an expert on Japan's underworld. "With the economic slump, the police surveillance, the defections, it's blurred allegiances."
The current battle began in April, when more than a dozen empty shops and offices owned by outcast factions of the Kokusuikai syndicate were fired on in the late night and early morning hours.
So far, no one has been killed and no one has been arrested, though the violence continues.
Japan's crime syndicates are among the world's wealthiest, bringing in billions of dollars a year. Recent scandals have revealed close ties to Japanese police and prominent politicians, along with some of the country's biggest banks and brokerage houses.