Thursday, February 2, 2012

"3 hearing-impaired men arrested over sign-language extortion"

From The Mainichi Daily News, 2/1/12:

Police have arrested three hearing-impaired men on suspicion of using sign language to extort money from another hearing-impaired person, law enforcers said.

The three suspects, identified as Kenta Yokoi, 33, Takao Tanaka, 30, and Hidetoku Takata, 34, are accused of duping a hearing-impaired woman into giving them 300,000 yen in Dec. 2009.

Yokoi and Tanaka, who have reportedly admitted to the allegations against them, were arrested and indicted on suspicion of fraud, among other charges. Takata was arrested on suspicion of blackmail.

According to investigative sources, the three used sign language to deceive a 25-year-old female company employee from the city of Nishio, Aichi Prefecture, telling her that Tanaka had a heart disease and needed money to cover his hospitalization expenses.

When the woman dismissed their story, police said the three became more aggressive, signing: "Do you want Tanaka to die from his disease?" and "You can't go home (without giving us money)."

Tanaka and Yokoi have also been arrested and indicted for impersonating police and using the cash card of a hearing-impaired woman from the Aichi prefectural city of Toyota to withdraw a total of 350,000 yen from her bank account between Nov. 2011 and Jan. 2012.


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