Osaka Police Arrest Arcade Owner On Crane Game-Rigging Charges

Posted On: 1/10/2018

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OSAKA, Japan -- Japanese news media report that the operator of a chain of arcades was arrested late last year on suspicion of defrauding customers by rigging crane games so that arcade employees could demonstrate their use in winning attractive prizes, but players could not control the claw to get the same result.

Seven suspects were arrested on the complaint of four customers. According to the police, they had received complaints from more than 30 people dating back to 2015. The case reportedly is the first occurrence of a Japanese game center being charged with crane machine fraud.

According to a report published by the Kyodo News on Dec. 25, 2017, some  of the suspects admitted to targeting tourists because they were less likely to complain to police. The suspects were also quoted as telling investigators they made use of a manual that describes how to get customers hooked on the prize cranes. The arcade chain's president has denied the allegations.

As of Monday, the Osaka police have received more than 100 reports of similar cases involving claw games from across the country, with one person claiming to have been swindled of 1.65 million yen (almost $1.5 million).

Kyodo News added that the police have received more than 100 reports of similar cases from across Japan.