Tokyo: The number of crime syndicate members in Japan has declined to its lowest level since the anti-organised crime law took effect in 1992, a national police survey showed Thursday.

There were about 58,600 crime group members as of the end of 2013, down about 4,600 from a year earlier, according to the National Police Agency.

The number has been on a declining trend on the back of a strengthened police crackdown and measures taken to limit crime syndicates’ means of financing.

The survey, however, showed a notable increase in crimes linked to such syndicates in the western prefecture of Hiroshima.

Of 23 cases of armed attacks by crime syndicates on corporations in Japan, 16 occurred in Hiroshima last year, the agency said.

Police records showed no such attacks on companies in 2011 and 2012.

Investigations of cases in the prefecture involving crime group members suggest they are stepping up activities in commercial areas, an agency official said.

Police investigated 27 cases related to syndicate rivalries in 2013, according to the survey.

None of the cases resulted in death or injury to civilians.

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