Friday, October 24, 2008

"Virtual Murder" Leads to Actual Arrest

Virtual worlds have led to actual crimes before. There was a romance in Second Life that led to a real-world attempted kidnapping. And there was a clan feud in a MMOPRG that led to real murder. What we have here is a "virtual murder," but one that's going to lead to some real jail time.

The "virtual murder" took place in the game "Maple Story," which says it's the world's first side-scrolling massively multiplayer online role-playing game (it's also free).

The 43-year-old Japanese woman became incensed about her "divorce" in the game. Yes, you read that right, not only was it a "virtual murder," it was "virtual divorce" as well. She logged on to the game with his password and deleted his avatar (this will teach people not to hand out their passwords to anyone).

The woman, a piano teacher, said:
"I was suddenly divorced - without a word of warning. That made me so angry."
I will say this only once (in this post, anyway): it's a game!

Anyway, while you might think, "oh, well," she has been arrested on suspicion of illegally accessing a computer and manipulating electronic data, though not formally charged.

The woman lives in southern Miyazaki, but had to make a 620 mile trip to Sapporo, where the man lives (and thus, where the crime "occurred." Except in movies or cartoons, they can't take her to cyberspace, where it actually happened, right?

It's unclear if the woman had a relationship in real-life, or if and when she will be officially charged. She did tell the police that aside from the "virtual murder," she had not made any other plans for "revenge."

If charged and convicted, she could face up to five years in prison or a fine of more than $5,000.

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