Young People Should Be Aware That Criminals Are Taking Advantage of Them

Young people who apply for “dark” part-time jobs on social media are being used as a convenient resource as perpetrators to commit crimes. Relevant organizations must work out how to stop young people from casually applying for such jobs.

In a recent robbery, masked male suspects broke into a luxury watch store in Ginza, Tokyo, during busy hours, smashed showcases with tools, and stole merchandise.

Four suspects aged 16-19 were taken into custody, including a high school student. Despite their rampant behavior, the getaway vehicle used in the heist was a rental car and the license plate had been changed, indicating careful preparation.

The four suspects reportedly told police they did not know each other. It appears young people who were not used to committing crimes assembled and followed the instructions of suspected ringleaders.

Situations involving young people who were abandoned by ringleaders after perpetrating crimes have been revealed one after another in other robbery and fraud cases. Young people who have gambling debts or whose livelihoods have been impoverished due to the COVID-19 pandemic have applied for these jobs, lured by high rewards.

People applying for dark part-time jobs have been asked to submit their driver’s licenses and have been threatened that if they back out, their families would be harmed, for example. Once they get in touch with the ringleader, they cannot back out. Young people should understand that a casual application to earn quick cash could ruin their lives.

If people are involved in a crime, they face serious penalties. Even drivers and lookouts have received prison sentences in similar cases in the past.

Under the revised Juvenile Law, the media can report the names of “specified juveniles” aged 18-19 after indictment. Cases subject to referrals from the family court to prosecutors have been expanded to include robbery, among other crimes, and are tried in court sessions that are open to the public in the same manner as cases involving people aged 20 and over.

Young people must not think they can take such matters lightly because they are teenagers or because their roles are small. Such crimes could lead to irreversible damage.

Recently, it is said that people have received messages inviting them to apply for dark part-time jobs after posting on social media that they “need money.” It is hoped that universities, high schools and families will urge young people not to apply for such jobs. Society as a whole needs to work to prevent young people from becoming criminals.

It is important to detect social media posts advertising dark part-time jobs. The police need to request the deletion of suspicious posts that mention high rewards and to enhance efforts to crack down on the posters.

Even when perpetrators are arrested, it is difficult to find the ringleaders. The channels through which stolen goods are cashed in and getaway vehicles are procured must be uncovered, and the criminal organizations that are treating young people like disposable resources must be identified.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, May 17, 2023)