Customers mourning Japan dumpling boss to get free food

TOKYO - A Japanese dumpling restaurant chain whose president was gunned down late last year in a reported gangland killing is to give customers food coupons in gratitude for their support.

Takayuki Ohigashi, 72, the boss of the "Gyoza no Ohsho (King of Dumplings)" chain, was shot dead in December outside the company's headquarters in the ancient city of Kyoto.

A spokesman for the company said sales were up 20 per cent in the weeks after the bloody killing, as customer numbers swelled.

The company will give coupons for dumplings and other dishes to everyone who visits between Thursday and Saturday, it said.

"It is meant to show the company's gratitude to customers who supported us after the president's death," said a company spokesman.

A set of five different coupons will offer free dumplings and various other discounts on food and drinks, valid until December 25, the company said.

Ohigashi turned around the once-struggling restaurant chain, which now operates more than 650 restaurants throughout Japan as well as a handful abroad.

Gun crime is rare in Japan, and incidents involving firearms usually have a connection to yakuza organised crime groups.

Police have so far made no arrests.