A Hyogo Prefecture police officer has been indicted after attempting to extort a member of the public in order to get money to pay off debt that he racked up… playing a social video game.
We can understand really getting into a game, and it’s no secret that social and mobile games can be incredibly addictive, but this story is simply outrageous.
Takahiro Ueyama, a police officer from Hyogo Prefecture, was arrested on charges of attempted extortion after his would-be victim went to the police with the note he’d left proposing the exchange of police property for cash.
After recording an interview with a woman during a traffic stop on June 10, Ueyama used information he had gathered to locate her home and identify her vehicle. On July 2, he left a letter on the woman’s car offering to sell her the incriminating video.
The next day, the woman went to the police with the note and asked for help. It wasn’t long before Ueyama was arrested for the alleged crime and the story went public.
Ueyama, who is 44 years old, began his career as a police officer in 1989 and was promoted just this year. Aside from this case, there had been no signs of misconduct on his part.
So, why did this 24-year veteran with no history of criminal mischief turn to extortion? What could possibly drive someone with decades of service to such depths? Drugs? Prostitutes? Underground Pokemon-fighting rings?
Nope! Ueyama had racked up debt of over 500,000 yen (about US$5,200) purchasing items for a game he’d become addicted to. His charges for June alone were over 200,000 yen (about $2,078)! It seems that he’d been buying items worth several thousand yen one after the other, and later claimed on his affidavit that the game was his only joy.
Finding himself unable to pay such a large bill, Ueyama seemingly could think of no other option—though he partially denies the allegations, claiming that he didn’t really intend to take any money.
Japanese Internet users reacted strongly to the news.
A problem caused the by elderly “NES generation.”
I thought it would be some young cop, but…NOPE!
Japanese police are truly incompetent.
Isn’t it kind of worrisome that a 44-year-old government employee can’t afford to pay a 200,000-yen bill?
The gamers in their 40s raised on Nintendo are now mere shadows of their former selves.
We’re not entirely sure what Nintendo has to do with this, but it seems like the poor guy has a real, legitimate addiction. We hope he’ll get some help soon. And, remember, folks, don’t pay extortionists!
Sources: Hachima kikou , Asahi Shinbun , Naver Matome , The Wall Street Journal (Japan) ,
Image sources: Wikipedia