Oct. 31 (UPI) -- Residents of the Japanese city of Kobe are spooked after Japan's largest Yakuza organization held a Halloween Day event at crime ring headquarters, according to a Japanese press report.
Television network NHK reported Wednesday Yamaguchi-gumi held the event in Hyogo Prefecture and welcomed children with gifts of cookies.
In celebration of Halloween, the notorious crime ring, currently under U.S. economic sanctions, decorated their headquarters with carved pumpkins and ghost-themed décor.
Japanese parents with children were drawn to the event, including a woman with a young daughter.
Yamaguchi-gumi sources said they were holding the Halloween event because "the children like the holiday," but police said the crime ring could be making a strategic move to appease local residents.
Residents have responded with protests outside Yakuza headquarters, after keeping silent the previous year, according to NHK.
More than 100 protesters on Tuesday gathered at the site, holding banners that read, "deport violent gangs," and criticizing the crime ring for its bad influence on minors.
"The children are receiving treats from the Yakuza without knowing who they are. Adults must put an end to this," one protester said.
Another protester identified as a lawyer said the money for the Halloween goods are from "criminal proceeds," or activities that include drug trafficking, money laundering, extortion, sex trafficking, gambling and protection rackets.
Four senior members of Yamaguchi-gumi are under U.S. Treasury sanctions and there are a total of 21 Japanese crime ring members under U.S. sanctions.
Despite their criminal activities, the Yakuza continue to be glamorized in the entertainment industry in Japan.
Newsweek reported last week Japanese multinational video game developer Sega is releasing a fourth game in a "Yakuza" series, that includes a ramen shop shootout and mini-games at a cabaret and a hot springs. The game is popular in the West, according to the report.