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13 arrested for groping, theft after Shibuya Halloween chaos

Police officers detain a man for alleged groping at the entrance to Shibuya's famous Center Street shopping district in Tokyo's Shibuya Ward, on Oct. 31, 2018. (Mainichi/Koichiro Tezuka)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- A total of 13 men had been arrested as the Halloween street event in Tokyo's Shibuya district reached its climax Wednesday night, while young people were seen collecting garbage left over from the revelry the following day.

With the raucousness of the street party appearing to escalate every year, Shibuya Mayor Ken Hasebe said he would consider measures to avoid chaos next year, touching on ideas such as making it a paid event or using Yoyogi Park in Shibuya Ward as a venue.

"Many people enjoying Halloween appropriately, but it turned out to be a disappointing event because of some people," the mayor told reporters Thursday morning.

The 13 arrested men, ranging in age from their teens to their 40s, allegedly committed offenses including groping and theft on Wednesday and Thursday as thousands of revelers gathered in the bustling Shibuya area, many clad in Halloween costumes.

One was arrested for groping women's breasts, while another allegedly snatched a wallet from a bag belonging to a man who was sleeping on a street, according to police.

The district near the famous scramble crossing outside JR Shibuya Station was left covered in large amounts of trash including fast-food leftovers and discarded costumes.

In the early hours of Thursday, Manami Suzuki, a 27-year-old nail artist, was seen picking up garbage scattered on the street while still wearing a flashy costume. She said she brought her own garbage bag after learning that partygoers had left the area strewn with trash.

Suzuki said she was taking part in the cleanup as she "wants to enjoy Halloween next year and the year after that too."

"I can't stand Halloween," a 28-year-old passer-by said, "(but) I saw people picking up garbage and I wanted to help out."

A 78-year-old woman preparing to open the restaurant where she works said, "Finally, it's over. I just don't want the image of the city tarnished by trash."

There have been a number of reports of antisocial behavior in the district since last weekend. A small truck was overturned by a group of people early Sunday near Shibuya Station.

On Wednesday, many young people dressed as witches, zombies and other Halloween characters flocked to the area, and some shops closed in the late afternoon due to security concerns.

At 6 p.m., a fire broke out on the rooftop of a building in the Shibuya district and the surrounding area at one point became packed with onlookers.

Hasebe had called on Halloween revelers not to make noise after midnight but the area remained chaotic through early Thursday with some continuing to dance or climb the Hachiko dog statue near the station.

A riot police unit and special police officers dubbed "DJ police," who aim to marshal crowds with a spirit of goodwill, were dispatched to the area.

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