The Tokyo Metropolitan Police said Tuesday that one of the men arrested over the beating to death of Ryosuke Fujimoto, 31, in a Roppongi club last September has been released.
In total, eight former members of the Kanto Rengo biker gang, including its leader, 31-year-old Taichi Ishimoto, were arrested for Fujimoto’s murder at Club Flower on Sept 2 of last year. A group of 10 men in masks walked into the club in the early morning hours and, without a word, beat Fujimoto to death with metal pipes and aluminum bats.
Fuji TV reported that the 28-year-old suspect who was released, had been arrested for allegedly preparing the murder weapons. He was caught on nearby store security cameras making contact with the attackers shortly before the incident took place. The Tokyo District Court says it has asked investigators to investigate the man’s involvement further before deciding on whether or not there is a case against him.
A total of 17 arrest warrants were issued in relation to the case.
Seven men wanted by police in connection with the fatal beating of a 31-year-old restaurateur in September 2012 at a Roppongi nightclub turned themselves in Friday morning and several were later arrested, police said.
The move follows Thursdays arrest of eight men, including Taichi Ishimoto, 31, former leader of the now-defunct motorcycle gang Kanto Rengo who is currently on trial for fraud, and other ex-members.
Two others, a 33-year-old former Kanto Rengo member who is considered the ringleader and another man, have fled overseas.
Police said Thursday they have made three further arrests in relation to the Roppongi club Studio Gate where a man was beaten to death by a group of masked men wielding baseball bats in September. The total number of men arrested is 11, but none have been charged with the murder. Rather, they are charged with operating a club without a license.
Soon after the murder, the club—then named Flower—was closed, but owner Mikito Baba reopened it under the name Studio Gate on Sept 21. Police say that Baba did not apply for the appropriate license and arrested him and seven employees. A police spokesperson said that the club was also unlicensed at the time of the attack, NTV reported.
The three men arrested this week were also involved in running the club, police said.
An unsolved brutal murder in a busy nightclub has raised further fears about a deterioration in public safety in Tokyo’s Roppongi district, where the number of reported assaults has more than doubled in the past nine years. Three weeks have passed since a 31-year-old man was beaten to death by nine masked men at a Roppongi club, but the assailants remain unidentified and at large.
At about 2:40 a.m. on Sept. 2, two vans stopped in front of a multitenant building about 200 meters from the main Roppongi intersection. An hour later, nine men wearing sweatsuits and carrying metal bats got out of the vans and headed to “Flower,” a club on the second floor of the building. They put on full-face ski masks as they neared the club.
Being a weekend night, “Flower” was crowded with more than 200 people. The masked men walked straight to a VIP area at the back of the club where Ryosuke Fujimoto was drinking with friends and started bashing him with their bats. Without uttering a word, they continued their deadly assault for about a minute before making their escape.
Based on security camera footage and other information, the Metropolitan Police Department has found that the vans took the metropolitan expressway toward Higashi-Yamato, western Tokyo.
Police suspect the attackers are a group of men in their 20s and 30s with gang ties.
At 3:40 a.m. on the morning of Sept 2, approximately 10 individuals, faces concealed by ski masks, stormed into Flower, a large club in Roppongi 5-chome.
The group gained access via a private entrance (described elsewhere as an emergency exit) adjacent to the club’s VIP lounge area, where a group of four to five customers, police investigators have learned, had booked the lounge in advance.
As reported in Tokyo Sports (Sept 4), the assailants made a beeline toward Ryosuke Fujimoto, the 31-year-old operator of a barbecue restaurant in Shibuya, who had been relaxing with friends for the previous two and a half hours. They bludgeoned Fujimoto with what appeared to be metal pipes, and after an assault that took no longer than two minutes, the men fled from the exit and down the steps into waiting vehicles.