CHIANGRAI TIMES – Thai Immigration Police have arrested a man believed to be a key member of one of the largest mafia networks in Japan who is accused of swindling $1.6 million out of a company there.
Police Col. Chartchai Ieamsaeng says police found Japan’s Ushio Sugawara on Thursday in a Bangkok guesthouse after receiving a tip-off from the Japanese Embassy.
Japanese police issued arrest warrants for Sugawara and three other gang members in 2010 for allegedly swindling money from a Japanese company through a proxy. The estimated damage from the fraud was 130 million yen ($1.6 million).
He says Sugawara fled to Thailand eight months ago and will be deported to Japan.
Chartchai said Friday that Sugawara is a member of the Sixth Yamaguchi-gumi, one of the largest Japanese mafia organizations.
It is named after its founder Harukichi Yamaguchi. Its origins can be traced back to a loose labour union for dockworkers in Kobe pre-WWII.
It is one of the largest criminal organizations in the world. Estimates put the number of active members at just over 55,000, with thousands more having strong associations. It is, by far, the largest of the boryokudan groups, and its membership encompasses roughly 45% of the 86,300 yakuza in the Japanese underworld.
The Yamaguchi-gumi has its headquarters in Kobe, Japan, but it operates all across Japan and has overseas operations in Asia and the United States. Read More…