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Two Suspected of Duping Thousands of Would-be Male Prostitutes

February 21, 1991

TOKYO (AP) _ Two men have been arrested on suspicion of swindling $5.4 million from thousands of men who thought they were applying for work as prostitutes, police said Thursday.

Police in western Japan said they arrested Hideo Komai, 35, and Yoshiki Hisamoto, 24, on Wednesday and were looking for a third man.

Police said the three men placed want ads for ″hosts,″ a Japanese euphemism for women’s drinking companions who often perform other services, in 15 magazines and newspapers between June 1988 and November 1990.

Some 4,000 men from across the nation replied to the ad, which promised a monthly salary of $3,075 and assured that ″age, appearance and experience are no problem.″

The ad said applicants could be hired over the phone and could start work the same day. Those who answered the ad were told they had to pay a $1,500 registration fee.

Some men were introduced to women who turned out to be prostitutes hired by the organizers, who had no intention of paying their hosts, police said. Generally, the organizers hired 10 such women a night to act as customers, and paid them $115 for each visit.

Police would not say how many of the men received these or other kinds of introductions.

Police said many of the swindle’s victims were ″serious-looking″ salaried workers making about $1,900 a month at their regular jobs.

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