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Skirt-lifting incidents occurring repeatedly on empty streets in Yokohama

Kanagawa Prefectural Police headquarters (Mainichi/Akihiko Yamamoto)

YOKOHAMA -- A series of incidents in which a man lifted the skirts of female pedestrians and groped some of them have been reported in this city south of Tokyo, sources close to the investigation have revealed.

    About 10 such cases occurred on streets in Isogo and Konan wards of the city of Yokohama in early December. Kanagawa Prefectural Police have warned female residents to avoid walking alone while listening to music on streets during the night or when there are few people around.

    According to sources close to the investigation, there were nearly 10 cases between Dec. 4 and 7 where women aged between 10 and in their 40s, traveling to or from their homes, were approached from behind by a man who lifted their skirts on streets in an area within a range of around a 1-kilometer radius.

    Among the women, there were reportedly individuals who were groped under their skirts, and those who had a smartphone put up their skirts. Many of the incidents occurred between 8 and 9 a.m. as well as past 7 p.m. The man apparently soon fled the scene in each case, after the victims cried out, among other actions.

    The sites of the incidents included places where there were no surveillance cameras set up nearby. Prefectural police presume that the man targeted women wearing skirts on streets with few people, and are investigating the cases as an alleged violation of Kanagawa Prefecture's prefectural ordinance on preventing behavior that disturbs public peace. Police are also looking into the possibility that the suspect is the same in all cases, as common external features were reported, such as the person having a height of around 170 centimeters and wearing a blackish top. (Japanese original by Minhyang Hong, Yokohama Bureau)

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