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April 25, 2003

Blackmail suspects muted as they learn silence is not golden

From: Mainichi Shimbun, Japan - Apr 25, 2003

A group of deaf men have been arrested after they, using only sign language, blackmailed a suburban Tokyo man into paying off his son's debts, police said.

Arrested for intimidation were 22-year-olds Shigeyoshi Kuroki, unemployed of Tachikawa and Yuichi Sakata, unemployed of Hachioji, as well as Shigeki Tanaka, 29, unemployed of no fixed address, and Hajime Kawamura, 25, a bath maker from Kushiro, Hokkaido. All four suspects, who are deaf , admit to the allegations against them.

Police said that on the night of Feb. 20, the four forced their way into the Hachioji home of a 51-year-old man, who is also deaf , and refused to leave until he paid off debts they claimed his son had incurred. The man handed over to the men 4.98 million yen, which they used to party. (Mainichi Shimbun, April 25, 2003)

(c) 2001 The Mainichi Newspapers Co.