crime

After the tears have dried, where is shamed politician Ryutaro Nonomura now?

You may not remember the name Ryutaro Nonomura but you’ll almost definitely recall the press conference he gave last July, which was later dubbed the “crying conference” here in Japan. The incident, which saw the then provincial politician weeping, cupping his ear cartoonishly, and wailing like a man possessed as he attempted to explain what he’d done with a significant amount of government funds turned him into a pop-culture iconporn parody and all, and ensured that he would go down as one of the most famous figures of 2014, for all the wrong reasons.

So now about half a year later, what has become of the disgraced assemblyman?

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Ritzy Japanese cop breaks Rolex wristwatch during arrest, sends suspect US$6,000 repair bill

With famously low crime rates and an honest society that returns wallets full of cash, Japanese cops usually have it a bit easier than their overseas counterparts. But while they may have some extra time on their hands, Japanese police officers still are put in the line of danger catching the bad guys and keeping Japan safe.

One cop in Saitama Prefecture was reminded of this reality when he was got banged up pretty badly and broke his expensive Rolex watch a couple of years ago while pursuing a man suspected of exposing himself to a young girl. This cop shocked his colleagues and the public last week when Japanese media reported that, after arresting the suspect, the police officer took the man to court and sued for him for damages including more than 700,000 yen (US$5,949) to repair the watch!

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Vietnamese police detain 16 pigeons on suspicion of being Chinese spies, discover true identities

With all of the advanced technology intelligence agencies can employ, plus the fact that so much information is now stored digitally, it’s easy to make the assumption that modern espionage is all hacking and drone surveillance. In fact, though, there’s still plenty of room in the spy game for carbon-based operatives working in the field.

As such, it’s the responsibility of militaries and police forces the world over to be on guard against organic espionage threats. So while you can admire the diligence and zeal shown by a group of citizens and police in Vietnam who captured and detained what they thought was a ring of 16 Chinese spies, the suspects turned out to be innocent.

They also happen to be pigeons.

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Chinese iPhone smuggler fails to deliver illicit goods, does deliver laughs with his crazy outfit

With his stylishly coifed hair, affected pose, and outlandish outfit, you could at first mistake the man in the above photo for a model. And given how ridiculous his getup is, you might find it only natural that his face is concealed, because honestly, even if you were getting paid for it, it’d still be kind of embarrassing to be seen dressed like this.

Except, that’s no fashion shoot, but a photograph taken by Chinese customs authorities who caught the would-be smuggler trying to sneak a huge quantity of smartphones into mainland China in one of the clumsiest ways possible.

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Man detained for 2013 Hakata Station threats now filming himself sticking toothpicks into snacks

Back in June 2013, RocketNews24 ran an article about the threats of attack on Fukuoka’s Hakata Station. The perpetrator was subsequently caught and sent to a juvenile detention center, but now less than two years later, he’s back to making YouTube videos of himself stealing from stores and destroying merchandise.

His latest “prank” video shows him sticking a toothpick inside some unsuspecting customer’s snack and is currently under investigation by Tokyo police.

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French artist alters Japanese street signs to make people “more observant”, police not impressed

Some rather peculiar, sticker-altered street signs have been popping up in Osaka or Kyoto over the last month. The eye-catching addendums are the work of French guerrilla artist Clet Abraham, who has done similar projects around the globe. While local residents are largely bemused, the police are not at all amused and are investigating whether charges can be filed.

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We examine the footage, decide Coming of Age Day in Okinawa is actually pretty badass【Video】

Japan’s Coming of Age Day, held in January to celebrate young people who have turned 20 in the last year, involves dressing up in fancy kimono to attend an official ceremony, followed by a trip to the shrine or (more likely) an afterparty.

Or, to put it another way, every 20-year-old in the country is invited to a party to celebrate the fact they’re old enough to drink alcohol. Perhaps it’s no surprise then that in recent years, each Coming of Age Day has brought with it a small number of arrests, as rowdy enjoyment spills over into reckless driving and alcohol-related incidents.

Okinawa in particular boasts some of the wildest Coming of Age celebrations in Japan. This year, filmmaker and Okinawa native Hisashi Hamamoto headed to some of the busiest spots to film the partygoers. Join us after the jump for kids blocking traffic, shaking champagne about and generally having a riot, Japan-style.

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Japanese man invites neighbor in for a few beers immediately after being shanked by him

A story out of Saitama Prefecture almost sounds like the script to a heartwarming movie. In an apartment house in Kawaguchi City, until a few days ago, two senior citizens were living next door to each other. The men shared a love of beer, and since they were both living alone, would even sometimes pass off their excess food to one another if they happened to buy too much at the grocery store.

Sure, 64-year-old Shingo Tsutsui didn’t like the noise his 70-year-old neighbor made walking around the hardwood floors of his thin-walled apartment, but that little bit of cantankerousness just adds to the Odd Couple-like appeal of the story, doesn’t it? Or at least it would, if Tsutsui had responded by contorting his face into comically frustrated expressions instead of what he actually did, which was to attack his neighbor with a kitchen knife.

As shocking as that is, though, it’s not nearly as unexpected as the victim’s reaction: inviting his attacker in to have a couple of beers together.

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Nonsensical conbini crime: Incapable clerk vs. drunk guy’s money

When you get change after paying for something in cash, do you ever actually count it to make sure you received the right amount? I sure don’t. Maybe I’m just too used to Japan, where the person working the register will count out each bill and the coins in front of you before handing the change over. It’s just a simple measure taken to double-check that the person at the register isn’t short-changing the customer.

Thorough as it may be, it’s not a flawless method, leaving room for human error, like not being able to tell the difference between a 1,000 yen bill and 10,000 yen bill. But really, who would make that mistake?

Apparently a teenager working the register at a convenience store in Nara recently managed to make that very mistake, but instead of short-changing the customer, he ended up giving 46,000 yen (US$390) in change for a 13,000 yen (US$110) purchase. Fishy! Oh and then, the customer got arrested. Fishier!

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Kyoto taxi drivers reduce convenience store robberies by 50 percent by doing absolutely nothing

Throughout 2014, Kyoto Prefectural Police began an initiative having taxi drivers and late-night convenience stores work together to reduce incidents of armed robbery. Although still early, the program has so far been rousing success, leading to a 48 percent decrease in convenience store robberies compared to the previous year. They also get extra points for giving it the cool name of “Midnight Defender Strategy”.

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Samsung claims rival LG exec purposely broke its washing machine display model in Germany

A trait of good business leaders is that however high they rise in the company, they never overlook the organization’s frontline operations. It’s important, even for presidents and CEOs, to understand how low-level employees go about their tasks and the manner in which products are purchased and used.

According to accusations from Korean electronics maker Samsung, though, a senior executive from rival LG Electronics got a little too zealous in his point-of-sale activities when he stopped by a retailer and broke one of Samsung’s display models.

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Chinese lingerie thief’s stash was so huge it broke the building he lived in

How many bras is too many to steal? Morally, the answer is obviously zero, since unlike a loaf of bread, lingerie doesn’t have the sort of nutritional content that you can feed your starving family with.

But what about structurally? The answer seems to be about 2,000, as demonstrated by a prolific pantie pilferer in China whose stash got so big, it actually began destroying the building he lives in.

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Policewoman’s posterior produces poetic justice as she arrests man she says groped her on train

Police in Hyogo Prefecture are reporting the arrest of a man suspected of being a chikan, Japan’s embarrassing subclass of perverts that grope unsuspecting women on crowded trains. The suspect’s capture wasn’t the result of a sophisticated sting or surveillance operation, though. As a matter of fact, the arresting officer didn’t even have to chase the man down, as the police claim he was caught red, and butt, handed when he grabbed the behind of a fellow passenger who’s also a policewoman.

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High-level yakuza member arrested for possession of 17kg of salt

On 1 December Yokohama customs and police departments announced the arrest of an allegedly high ranking 49-year-old member of the Sumiyoshikai yakuza group along with six other men in a case of smuggling. They found in his possession 17kg of rock salt, which was actually planted on him by Yokohama customs agents prior to his arrest. All involved are considering it a flawless example of proper law-enforcement.

If you’re confused by this then you might not be familiar with the police tactic known as “oyogasesosa” (swim investigation) or “controlled delivery” as it’s called in English speaking countries.

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In Hokkaido there’s weed, weed everywhere, but not a drop to smoke

Japan tends to be a very drug-shy country. Most people you talk to will say that they’ve never gone anywhere near substances like marijuana, and according to a Public Library of Science survey, 98 times out of 100 they’re telling you the truth.

And yet you might be surprised to hear that there is an abundance of cannabis growing wild all over the northern island of Hokkaido. But before you go booking a ticket, you may want to learn why.

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Store employee uses barcode scanner to defeat knife-wielding robber

Being a big city, Osaka falls victim to criminal activity more frequently than the rest of the sleepy countryside surrounding it. But still, the criminals they do have in this “big bad” city, seem to be lacking in… experience? Guts? Commitment?

Back in May we saw the convenience store robber who got outsmarted by a clerk after a series of unfortunate decisions on his part. The other day, another wannabe convenience store robber started his raid out well, but gave up pretty easily after some quick thinking and scolding by the store attendant.

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Man arrested for robbery in Shandong had just visited temple to give thanks for not getting caught

There’s something about tales of inept criminality that we just can’t resist, especially when it seems like a case of fate conspiring against the wrong-doer. Like the man arrested for robbery in China’s Shandong province on Thursday who was on his way back from a temple, having gone to give thanks for not being caught.

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83-year-old retiree arrested for selling explicit pre-war photos online

Life as a retiree isn’t exactly easy. Sure, you don’t have to get up and go to work every morning, but that also means you don’t have a very substantial income. While your retirement checks might help you put food on the table, they’ll probably seem a bit underwhelming as you get even older. And in Japan, you can’t even go out and get a depressing job as a greeter at Wal-mart.

But there’s always Yahoo! Auction, where you can sell any manner of things you might have lying around the house. Old instruments, old clothes, old dolls, or even, what the heck, how about some old pornographic photos? Any of those are sure to fetch a tidy sum online, but you might want to be careful about those explicit photos–they could very well end up with you getting arrested, as one 83-year-old Tokyo retiree learned!

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Osaka man imprisoned on rape conviction released in exceptional reversal of charges

An Osaka man convicted of rape three and a half years ago and sentenced to a 12-year prison sentence has been released after new evidence revealed the man’s accuser had provided false testimony.

The man – whom Japanese news outlets are not naming – was accused of raping the same woman in both 2004 and 2008, and sexually assaulting her once again later in 2008. The guilty verdict was apparently based largely on the woman’s testimony and that of at least one eyewitness, but the trial seems to have lacked any physical evidence provided by prosecutors.

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Four urine-loving Tokyo men arrested for taking photos of girls who just couldn’t hold it anymore

Just in case you haven’t had a dose of creepy in a while, we bring this to you to keep you sober and careful in the future.

Being an adult female and an avid reader of news, I’ve come to realize over the years that there are a lot of creepy people in this world of ours. Within the past two years in Japan alone, for example, two stories that made headlines involved a man who was arrested for throwing cups of urine on women and another for kidnapping a girl to raise as his “ideal wife.” And now, another similarly creepy case has come to light, with four men being arrested in Tokyo for activities that I would rank pretty high on the creepy scale.

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