Man arrested after 'Virtual Mugging' spree

Written by Jason Cundall

August 18, 2005 | 13:25

Tags: #bots

A Chinese exchange student has been collared by the long arm of the Japanese law after a series of on-line muggings, where the suspect is alleged to have used bots to relieve characters in on-line games of rare artifacts that he later auctioned off for real world cash:

A man has been arrested in Japan on suspicion carrying out a virtual mugging spree by using software "bots" to beat up and rob characters in the on-line computer game Lineage II. The stolen virtual possessions were then exchanged for real cash.

The Chinese exchange student was arrested by police in Kagawa prefecture, southern Japan, the Mainichi Daily News reports.

Several players had their characters beaten and robbed of valuable virtual objects, which could have included the Earring of Wisdom or the Shield of Nightmare. The items were then fenced through a Japanese auction website, according to NCsoft, which makes Lineage II. The assailant was a character controlled by a software bot, rather than a human player, making it unbeatable.

Ren Reynolds, a UK-based computer games consultant and an editor of the gaming research site Terra Nova, says the case highlights the problem of bots in virtual worlds.

More from New Scientist here.

So - do you bought some items of eBay... Do you know where your Earring of Wisdom or Shield of Nightmares came from? Are you sure you're not receiving 'virtual' stolen goods?

Let us know if you've been mugged in an on-line world, or have bought and sold virtual items for cash. Even if you haven't, we want to know your views on the subject, so discuss this subject in the forums here.
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