The VICE Guide to Right Now

Japan's 'Bounty Hunter' Website Encourages People to Earn Money By Catching Shoplifters

Regular customers are asked to watch out for would-be thieves.
September 25, 2019, 6:22am
japan store
Photo by Unsplash user Mak

Not all businesses can afford techie surveillance cameras, so a company in Japan found a way to provide small businesses security without shelling out too much money. Going old school is the website Bounty Hunter, which encourages people to earn money by catching shoplifters.

Created by Tokyo-based company Insotsu Inc., the program has stores invite their regular customers to become bounty hunters and rat out thieves, SoraNews24 reported.

“Shocking! This anti-shoplifting incentive powerfully wards away would-be shoplifters,” the advertisements for the service reads in Japanese.

Shops are to hang up posters alerting people that they could be shopping beside bounty hunters.

“When do they make their rounds? Who is a bounty hunter? Even the shop staff doesn't know,” the poster warns.

Those caught will be reported to the police and forced to pay for the items along with 30,000 yen (US$279.48), which will cover the expenses to apprehend them including the bounty hunter’s reward.

Apart from shoplifters, the same program can be used to catch gropers, a rampant problem in Japanese train stations.

But while this could work for some businesses, it could also raise problems of false allegations. So far, one store in Saitama has registered to use the service.

Find Meera on Twitter and Instagram.