Part-time jobs for university students are not generally known for their lavish wages. Which is why some students are willing to bend the rules for more lucrative opportunities. Recently, reported J-Cast News (Nov 6), the blogosphere was buzzing over the arrest of a senior at Meiji University, who was arrested on multiple charges of pandering in the Kabukicho entertainment zone.
The official charge was "fraudulent obstruction of business."
Working as a street tout, the student would deceive customers by steering them to a different shop than the one he claimed to represent.
Shown wearing a white parka and bearing a poker face, the student's arrest was covered on the evening TV news broadcast on several channels on Nov 5.
According to various media sources, the 21-year-old student, while working part time at an izakaya (restaurant-pub) in Kabukicho, on the night of Oct 13 had approached a mixed group of men and women in their 30s and 40s about to enter an establishment in a neighboring building, advising them, "That place in the basement is completely full now."
He courteously offered to escort them to a rival shop.
"It's part of the same chain, so you'll be able to order dishes from the same menu," he assured them. But realizing they had been hoodwinked, the customers phoned the police to complain about one hour later.
The suspect, who began working from last April, was believed to applied the same technique any number of times over the previous six months. His arrest on November 3 was announced to the media two days later. Both he, and the manager of the shop where he was steering customers underwent grilling by the police.
"We hear about this type of activity all the time, even several times a day," the secretariat of the Kabukicho Merchants' Promotion Association told J-Cast's reporter. "The shop does not contract directly with the touts, but rather a with group with ties to the local yakuza, who collect money from the shop in the form of 'advertising fees.' Then they steer customers to their shop.
"Right now three groups are operating in Kabukicho, with several dozen of the touts working the streets. They deal with over 20 restaurants, all of which are rip-off joints that overcharge their customers. We have 3,000 business in Kabukicho, and these 20 are making all of us look bad!"
It would appear that quite a few of the touts involved in this kind of scam are enrolled in top-ranked private universities.
"Through word-of-mouth via SNSs and so on, recruitment is done in the same manner as pyramid schemes, with promises of lucrative income," the aforementioned secretariat explained. "Once they are roped in to the work, the money's so good they can't quit. Many of them rake in one million yen or more a month. The system is set up so that they are motivated to steer more customers to the shops that pay the highest percentage of kickbacks."
The police were moved to take action following a new metropolitan ordinance that took effect from October which prohibits shops from paying protection money to yakuza gangs, on penalty of fines. The new scam was organized in attempt to get around the law.
"As the number of people engaged in such kind of 'catch' work (touting) has not declined, over the past month or so I've been told that the Shinjuku police station appealed directly to universities to discourage their students from engaging in this kind of part-time work," the secretariat was quoted as saying. "Touting can be a stepping-stone to other types of fraud, such as the 'it's me, send money' scams that are backed by organized crime groups. Once a person gets involved with them, it can very well wreck the rest of his life."© Japan Today