crime

Man held for extorting money from woman he met on matchmaking site

41 Comments

Police in Tokyo said Sunday they have arrested a 29-year-old man on suspicion of extortion after he threatened a woman whom he met through a matchmaking site and demanded she give him money.

According to police, the incident occurred on Aug 14. The suspect, Yuta Ozawa, whose occupation and address are unknown, and the 29-year-old woman came into contact with each other through an online dating site in June and agreed to meet at a hotel in Tokyo's Suginami Ward.

Police said Ozawa passed himself off as Sengo Akatsuki, the president of an investment company, when he corresponded with the woman. However, when they met, he threatened her, saying that his father was a member of the Yamaguchi crime syndicate. He also filmed her naked. After that, police said Ozawa demanded she come with him in a taxi where he made her hand over her purse which contained about 20,000 yen and some credit cards.

Police said Ozawa, who has pleaded not guilty, is suspected of extorting money from several other women under similar circumstances.

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41 Comments
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Lock the dude up, and a message to women, please take the time to find out just who you are dating before jumping into bed with a guy who "says" he is a company president.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

Hope he spends a lot of time in jail.

People have to use some common sense when picking partners on these sites. I highly doubt a president of a company would disclose such information on a hook-up site if he or she uses one at all.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

I find it intriguing that whenever a scumbag commits some crime with the aid of a social media app, the app is always named. However, whenever the story is about a dating site, the name of the site, the perp uses, is never revealed.

Why is this ?

18 ( +19 / -1 )

People have to use some common sense when picking partners on these sites.

I'll go out on a limb here and say that people who use these sites here don't have much in the first place.

-6 ( +7 / -13 )

I'll go out on a limb here and say that people who use these sites here don't have much in the first place.

That's old fashioned thinking. Online dating is the new norm.

7 ( +12 / -5 )

Why would anyone have their first date in a hotel? It seems that both of these people are professionals.

15 ( +15 / -0 )

@Alistair: I am only guessing, but I would wager it is probably that there are many many generic matchmaking sites that readers wouldn't really know so the news is warning more against matchmaking sites in general as opposed to any specific one.

...or maybe because other apps have easier name recognition that readers can understand.

Anyway, all that said I certainly would think it should be easy to write "whom he met through TokyoCupid, a matchmaking site."

5 ( +5 / -0 )

"Why is this ?"

I can think of several reasons pretty easily. The first is obviously that the story is just fake, meaning that someone just made it up with a bunch of aliases and got it published. A second is that it is not fake, but it is a hoax designed to wreck someone's dating site because... really... about 3 women in the whole world use dating sites as it is. If xyz gets a reputation for having women ripped off, it will go under. A third is that it is a totally true story, but it still would cause unsustainable damage to this one site and send it out of business, leading to some kind of lawsuit, even if the whole thing is true. Report something that is totally true and you STILL can get slapped with a suit. A fourth is that it is a JAPANESE company here, and not a large foreign behemoth. Let's protect domestic businesses! Most people will agree that protecting domestic businesses is more important than protecting women in Japan. Right? And hey, once you let some guy film you naked, people care even less. That is just the way people think.

Any one of those explanations might be right, and none really precludes any other in a Japanese news editor's mind. The editor just wants to make sure the "naked girl" angle gets covered. That is the important part.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@Alistair: Guessing here as well, but the apps named are not Japanese and the matchmaking sites are?

7 ( +7 / -0 )

@Alistair Carnell and 5SpeedRacer5

To be fair, it doesn't sound like the site had anything to do with this crime. I'm sure they had a disclaimer, and in the end, it's the users' responsibility. What website doesn't have users pretending to be some one else?

As a lot of the comments show, dating sites don't have a great image even without the crime. This seems especially true in Japan. The site owners probably asked for their name to be withheld.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Why would anyone have their first date in a hotel?

Hotels often have nice restaurants and/or classy cafes. It doesn't say they were in a hotel room, or even what type of hotel it was.

It seems that both of these people are professionals.

Or maybe not. Not enough information to be able to determine.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

Thanks for your insight, people. I also thought itsu be a bit suspect, as a certain Japanese news site owns a very popular dating site in Japan (ahem mentioning no names).

7 ( +9 / -2 )

I've been seeing this a lot lately. One example is one of my husband's coworkers. He is married, with a permanent girlfriend on the side, he has kids with both. Then a new girl got transferred in April and she became his third. After promising marriage and a new life -even going as far as telling the third's parents, he told her that he would never divorce his wife because the wife wouldn't let him, and the second wouldn't leave him because she also believes that at some point he will marry her, so number 3 tries to break it off. He got furious and demanded 200,000¥ from her or he'll show naked pics he took of her to everyone at work. She went crying to the boss, saying that she had to quit because of him and the only thing that happened was a renewed policy against employees dating. My husband works in a nursing home for the sick, elderly and disabled. Oh the stories I could tell.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

"Oh the stories I could tell." I don't want to seem judgmental, but your husband's cow orker is a serial scumbag. There are places on the internet where you can find people who will ruin a person's life for a small fee or just for the lulz. I hope the young lady gets in touch with some...disnterested party.The naked picture/movie thing demands harsh measures, if you ask me.

On the other hand, vigilante justice is probably overkill. Ruining this guy's life sounds like it would be a snap. He has done it to himself already.

And let me clarify that it is NOT because of what he is doing to his wife and to his children, for whom he should feel a sacred duty. I have stronger feelings about this because of what he is doing to those institutions, to innocent bystanders, his coworkers and people who care about other people. And their families too. He is a social cancer staying just under the radar and just above the law.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Because of this 1 or 2 rotten apple , others have to pay the price of not knowing the real people :(

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

5SpeedRacer5: I completely agree. When my husband asked why she didn't go to the police, she said she couldn't afford to lose her job. And apparently, this isn't the first time for that coworker to do such a thing.

What I meant by the stories I could tell, was not only about that coworker, but about the way the city we are in allows abuse to go on through their city hall controlled nursing home. But that seems to be part of the nationwide problem with nursing homes here. My husband has tried speaking up before and was told to not cause trouble. When he was transferred there a few years ago, he was told going in to do his job, keep his head down and not get mixed up with any of the staff there, and that he'll get out when his time there was done. But that doesn't have anything to do with this article, so my thoughts just came out wrong.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

That's old fashioned thinking. Online dating is the new norm.

Having common sense is old fashioned thinking? Hmmm...guess I would rather be old fashioned then. I know what I wrote as well, and while you will argue that people who dont use online dating dont have common sense either, (in many cases) I would also agree, but it behooves those who do date online to have MORE common sense and be MORE aware before getting into situations like the one described here.

Too many Japanese that I know view the internet as an extension of real life and never think THEY will become a victim, never get into problems because of the internet, and are naive in thinking that crap happens to other people and not them.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Sounds like she knew what she was getting into. I mean c'mon, online dating site and meeting in a hotel. She probably thought they were gonna hook-up and quite possibly has used the same site to do the same kind of hook-up before.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Having common sense is old fashioned thinking?

No, thinking that only people "without much" would use dating sites is old fashioned. Unless you are saying that the thought that only people "without much" would be using using these sites is common sense, in which case that "common sense" may be "common", but it's also wrong.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I guess she's never heard of LinkedIn, or Facebook, or the phone book. Not so hard to find out whether someone is who they say they are these days. If you're legit, you likely have a web profile and an electronic trail.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It seems women have become far too tolerant of such weirdos. 1st date at hotel? hmmm ok why not, drinks at the lobby, possibly dinner etc. But getting filmed naked at the said hotel on the first date is/should be a big no no for all women, especially if you've met the bloke online. I often ask my gf or female friends if they would accept/do such thing on the first date and most say 'of course not' although i am still stunned that some need a few seconds to answer (and arent 'that' shocked).

Weirdos get away with so much these days!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I guess she's never heard of LinkedIn, or Facebook, or the phone book. Not so hard to find out whether someone is who they say they are these days. If you're legit, you likely have a web profile and an electronic trail.

Yes, but most people are (rightly) conservative with specific details on their life before having met a few times in real life. Spitting out all your personal information to a random person on a dating site is asking for its own set of problems.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

came into contact with each other through an online dating site in June and agreed to meet at a hotel

Man, I wish it was that easy!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

"Too many Japanese that I know view the internet as an extension of real life and never think THEY will become a victim, never get into problems because of the internet, and are naive in thinking that crap happens to other people and not them."

This is symptomatic of the constant drum beat that "Japan is safe". Why worry when everyone tells you there is no reason to be concerned? Why worry when bogus stats show that crime is rare.

Why not meet a guy you just met online at a hotel? What could possibly go wrong, Japan is safe, after all.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This is symptomatic of the constant drum beat that "Japan is safe".

Thousands and thousands (if not tens of thousands) of people meet people from dating sites every day without incident. Of course one can panic whenever there is an incident, and barricade themselves in their house to try to prevent any possible negative thing happening to them. But that makes for a boring life, and is being extreme.

A more balanced approach in life is to look at the risk of an action, what the likelihood is of that happening, and how bad the consequences are, then taking an appropriate course of action based on that.

For example, when going on a date with someone from a dating site that you've never met, you could meet them in a public place, like say the lobby of a nice hotel. The nice thing about this is that there are nice restaurants and cafes in nice hotels, which provide for a nice place to have a date.

Why not meet a guy you just met online at a hotel?

Sorry, can you please explain to me why meeting in the lobby of a hotel then going for dinner or something is unsafe?

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Disillusioned at Sep. 05, 2016 - 08:43AM JST "Why would anyone have their first date in a hotel? It seems that both of these people are professionals."

Supersmashed at Sep. 05, 2016 - 11:31AM JST "Sounds like she knew what she was getting into. I mean c'mon, online dating site and meeting in a hotel. "

They met in June and had been seeing each other since. This incident in August occurred at a hotel but we don't know where they met for the first time or subsequent meetings until this incident. Maybe they started off in hotels, maybe not.

Strangerland, "Hotels often have nice restaurants and/or classy cafes. It doesn't say they were in a hotel room, or even what type of hotel it was."

Since he filmed her naked one would assume/hope they had a room.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Since he filmed her naked one would assume/hope they had a room.

Maybe. Or maybe she sent the images to him previously. Or maybe after he started extorting her, part of that extortion was to make her go into the room where he could take the naked pictures (video?) of her.

There just isn't enough information here to conclude anything.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Is his father really a member of the Yamaguchi? If not, give the guy to the syndicate and let him deal with them for faking being a member. I'm sure the syndicate won't like it a bit.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

"According to police, the incident occurred on Aug 14. The suspect, Yuta Ozawa, whose occupation and address are unknown" but he has no where now to go now but his place of eternal citizenship-J-land

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hay Tony, are you IN Japan ?; it IS.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Strangerland, "Or maybe she sent the images to him previously"

The article says: "He also filmed her naked"

2 ( +3 / -1 )

IF there is a local crime syndicate of that name, wouldn't it be a shame if some one told them that this guy has been using there name to con people out of money, because what he has done is not pay any money to them for using there name, Oh! dear, I can't see these guys being to happy with him, can you?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The article says: "He also filmed her naked"

I stand corrected.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Not sure why they're making it such a massive point of the story that they met on a dating site. They could have met in 1 billion different circumstances with the exact same result

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Police said Ozawa, who has pleaded not guilty, ...

I thought pleading guilty or not guilty takes places in a court of law. Maybe what should be written is "he denies the charges".

2 ( +2 / -0 )

So you meet someone onliine, go out, have sex, extort money, and go to jail. That doesn't seem very romantic...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I'm sure the syndicate won't like it a bit.

and I am sure he will be meeting some of them very very soon behind bars.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Take a class. Join a group..like hikers or animal groups, like Falconers, or volunteer. Or photographers. Or join museum groups. Hobby groups. Film groups. Art groups...book groups. Group groups. Groping groups. Grappling groups. Underwater basket weaving groups. What happened to all the friends you made at school and their friends?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@Yubaru totally agree with all you comments on this one! @Strangerland ... Got to disagree with most if not all your comments here Definitely people who use the online dating sites don't have much else going or why would they use up that time and money on it rather than being active in the real world. Online dating is like picking from the bottom...you might argue that Tokyo is a closed society and people are shy blah blah blah but these are just cliche's! There are ample opportunities for people to meet each other through work or other forms of socialization. Not as simple as in the supermarket or public areas as in western countries but definitely most losers resort to online dating. Old fashioned way of meeting people or hooking up rules!!! This type of incident though rarely reported should be a lesson to all the nerds and weirdos using these online dating services.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Definitely people who use the online dating sites don't have much else going or why would they use up that time and money on it rather than being active in the real world.

Ever heard of Tinder? 100% free. As are lots of sites, for the base account. You pay if you want elevated account privileges.

And besides, your logic is faulty. A lot of people want to screen before they meet - easier online than in the real world. A lot of people are not good at approaching others - easier online than in the real world. A lot of people work a lot, and/or work strange hours, so it's hard to get out and meet people - much easier online than in the real world. And a lot of people don't like to drink, whereas getting out and socializing is one of the easier ways to meet people - online dating removes this barrier.

I did a lot of research into the users of these sites and apps a few years back as part of a project we were working on. The profiles of users were an eye opener to me - I had also thought that online dating was still the realm of the socially inept. Being married, I had never used one of these sites, so I didn't realize things had changed.

As an anecdote, which of course does not a statistic make, but gives an example, my best friend is a fairly wealthy investor. He's also a good looking person - never has troubles meeting women. But he has been doing online dating for the past year. He works lots, and isn't a big drinker. He met his last girlfriend on one of these sites, and she was cute to the level that even with everyone having differing opinions, no one would deny she is cute. She speaks three languages, has lived in multiple countries, and was headhunted for and works for a major corporation. She also works lots and isn't a big drinker.

There are ample opportunities for people to meet each other through work or other forms of socialization. Not as simple as in the supermarket or public areas as in western countries but definitely most losers resort to online dating.

I'm not denying that many if not most losers will resort to online dating. But you are making the mistake that because most of them resort to it, it's only losers doing it. The reality is that people of all types are doing it.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

"Sorry, can you please explain to me why meeting in the lobby of a hotel then going for dinner or something is unsafe?"

Article did not say "hotel lobby", it said 'hotel". The article also states that he filmed her nude. In the hotel lobby I suppose?

If the met at the hotel lobby to go to a resturant, why not say so? The article states they met in a hotel and he filmed her nude and he then tried to extort her.

You ignore what is in the article and include things that are not. There is more than enough info in this article to conclude they met for the first time at a hotel and they ended up in a room together and he filmed her. That is known.

Again, why in the world would someone be so foolish on a first date if they thought it could lead to something like this. They believe the myth.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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