Angry online ‘divorcee’ kills virtual husband in cyber revenge

By Mari Yamaguchi, The Associated Press

TOKYO – A 43-year-old player in a virtual-world game became so angry about her sudden and unexpected divorce from her online husband that she logged on with his password and killed his digital persona, police said Thursday.

The woman used another player’s ID and password to log onto the popular interactive game “Maple Story” to carry out the virtual murder in May, a police official in the northern city of Sapporo said.

Police said the woman admitted to carrying out her cyberspace revenge and has been jailed on suspicion of illegally accessing a computer and manipulating electronic data.

“‘I was suddenly divorced, without a word of warning. That made me so angry,”‘ the official quoted her as telling investigators.

The woman, a piano teacher, had not plotted any revenge in the real world, the official said.

She has not yet been formally charged. If convicted, she could face up to five years in prison or a fine up to $5,000.

Players in “Maple Story” create and manipulate digital images called “avatars” that represent themselves, while engaging in relationships, social activities and fighting monsters and other obstacles.

In virtual worlds, players often abandon their inhibitions, engaging in activity online that they would never do in the real world. For instance, sex with strangers is a common activity.

The woman used login information she got from the 33-year-old office worker when their characters were happily married to kill the character. The man complained to police when he discovered that his online avatar was dead.

The woman was arrested Wednesday and taken 1,000 kilometres from her home in southern Miyazaki to be detained in Sapporo, where the man lives, the official said.

The police official said he did not know if she was married in the real world.

Bad online behaviour is usually handled within the rules set up by online worlds, which can ban miscreants or take away their virtual possessions.

In recent years, virtual lives have had consequences in the real world.

When bad deeds lead to criminal charges, prosecutors have found a real-world activity to cite – as in this case, in which the woman faces possible charges of illegal computer access.

In August, a woman was charged in Delaware with plotting the real-life abduction of a boyfriend she met through the virtual reality website “Second Life.”

In Tokyo, a 16-year-old boy was charged with stealing the ID and password from a fellow player of an online game in order to swindle virtual currency worth $360,000.

Virtual games are popular in Japan, and “Second Life” has drawn a fair number of Japanese participants. They rank third by nationality among users, after Americans and Brazilians.

3 Responses to Angry online ‘divorcee’ kills virtual husband in cyber revenge

  1. frixnus says:

    Wow.. is this for real? I’m not sure whether there are two “Maple Story”. But in Korean version, avatars are tiny characters with head as big as its body. Often elementary school children and some adults play it. The main activity is to hunt things like giant mushrooms. I was quite surprised by

    “In virtual worlds, players often abandon their inhibitions, engaging in activity online that they would never do in the real world. For instance, sex with strangers is a common activity.”

    how the heck do those tiny characters perform such activity? Thir heads are too big. I don’t think their arms are long enough to even hug each other…And I’m not sure if the program is complicated enough to help them hug or kiss or more.

    Since, online games in Korea have developed quite largely and they often have international versions, I suspected Maple Story would be that of Korean Version. I guess I might be mistaking. Or…I thought,,that article might be written to attract people’s attention, so the writer exaggerated some aspects.

    Anyways, poor women. She did something wrong, but I don’t think she expected such punishment to come. : (

  2. frixnus says:

    I think they’re talking about the one that I describe above…

  3. jkitpowsong says:

    yeah , I actaully read this news too. It is so insane. Unbelievable!!!

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