A pair of men have been arrested for mugging 50 people, all described as “looking like otaku”, stealing and extorting some ¥3,000,000 in total from them as they walked the streets of Osaka’s answer to Akihabara, Nipponbashi.
It appears they were targeted based on the (correct in this case) perception that otaku are weak and will bend to any threat.
The modus operandi of the unemployed young men, both 22, was to find youths who “looked like otaku” and then scare them into handing over their cash: “We thought we’d scare ’em into coughing up, so we only went for otaku. From October last year we must’ve done it about 50 times, netting us about ¥3,000,000.”
They have been charged with blackmail after a case where they deliberately bumped into a 24-year-old man on the streets of Nipponbashi, and then dropped a broken mobile phone and claimed he had broken it. They demanded compensation, and it turned out he had just taken out a loan and so was carrying ¥400,000 in cash, which they took.
It seems it took one more such theft for them to be actually arrested though, months after the previous crime. Police are investigating their other apparent crimes.
Osaka is derisively known as the roughest and most uncouth part of Japan, though compared to many nations it is still an enviably safe place.
We have to wonder at just what police (and possibly victims, if they failed to report these muggings) were doing whilst the pair ran a miniature crime spree in one of Osaka’s major shopping districts…