4 Japanese Gangsters Get UCLA Liver Transplants

FBI helped one crime boss with his visa
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 30, 2008 4:21 AM CDT
4 Japanese Gangsters Get UCLA Liver Transplants
Yakuza members in Osaka.   (Magnum Photos)

Four Yakuza gangsters, including one of Japan's most powerful crime bosses, had liver transplants at UCLA Medical Center between 2000 and 2004, the Los Angeles Times reports. Organs were particularly scarce in those years, with over 100 people on the waiting list dying each year. There is no indication that the hospital or the surgeon were aware of their patients' underworld connections.

A retired FBI chief said the agency helped the most powerful of the gangsters to obtain a US visa in the hopes he would provide information about Japanese gangs—but he gave up little of significance. The crime boss came to the states for a new liver and "was laughing back to where he came from," said the former agent. "It defies logic." (More Yakuza stories.)

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