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- Mar 11, 2008
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Kiyoshi Takayama is being taken away by police
Japanese police have taken action on the country's largest yakuza group Yamaguchi-gumi in the war against mob activities.
The 95-year-old organisation is left headless as its second-in-command Kiyoshi Takayama was arrested in connection with an extortion claim last week; while the godfather Kenichi Shinoda, 68, is serving a six-year jail term for firearms possession since 2005.
On Monday, some 150 Kyoto police raided its headquarters.
The crime syndicate did not retaliate.
Last Thursday, police arrested 63-year-old Takayama at his home in Kobe around 6.40am.
The wakagashira was sitting on the sofa when police stormed into the residence.
He remained calm throughout the process and followed police away, but denied all allegations.
The yakuza gang was said to have extorted 40mil yen (RM1.5mil) from a contractor between 2005 and 2006.
Being the biggest triad in Japan with some 40,000 members, extortion is probably the less serious crime it is involved in.
The Japanese media believe this is the first step police have taken in their war against mob activities.
The authorities want to control the situation before Shinoda, also known as Shinobu Tsukasa, is released from prison around March next year.
It is learnt Yamaguchi-gumi members nationwide are in high spirits, preparing for the release of their kumicho.
Some speculated that police have wanted to avoid further conflicts between the Kobe-based Yamaguchi-gumi and Tokyo-based yakuza groups especially Sumiyoshi-kai, the second largest gang.
It is said that Yamaguchi-gumi, which is mainly active in Kansai areas including Kyoto, Kobe, Kyushu and Osaka, is planning to spread its power into the capital.