Tokyo Police Arrested Yakuza Member for Pokémon Card Theft

An organized crime group operating in Japan, similar to the fictional Team Rocket, has been involved in a less-than-glamorous crime. A Yakuza member named Keita Saito, affiliated with the Sumiyoshi-kai crime syndicate, was apprehended for stealing Pokémon cards during a break-in on December 29, 2022. The theft, which took place in Saitama Prefecture, resulted in the loss of 25 Pokémon cards valued at about $1,625. Another individual, Hidefumi Kuboshita, was also arrested for allegedly playing a role in orchestrating the robbery. While Kuboshita denies the accusations, Saito has confessed to the crime. Authorities are still searching for two more suspects believed to be involved, who were reportedly recruited online for the heist.


The theft of collectible cards in Japan has become more common, but it is rare to apprehend an active Yakuza member, especially one higher up in the hierarchy, in connection with these thefts. This unusual situation has led to various online comments speculating on the Yakuza’s involvement with Pokémon cards. Some suggest that the Yakuza has become fans of the popular card game, while others question the atypical behavior of targeting Pokémon cards. Comparisons have been made to school bullies stealing Tamagotchis and jokes have been made about the Yakuza member being mistaken for a member of Team Rocket. Overall, the incident has surprised some individuals, while others point to the Yakuza’s history of engaging in shady activities involving games and children.


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