Tag Archives: crime

Police Investigating More Match Fixing, Organized Crime Links To Australian Overwatch Team

The crackdown on Australian esports has already begun, but a report from the ABC this morning has raised the stakes several notches after questioning the ownership of a local Overwatch Contenders team.


The report from ABC’s 7.30, which went online early Tuesday morning, touches on the ongoing investigation from Victoria Police that resulted in the arrest of multiple Australian Counter-Strike players. The report includes previously unannounced details, however, including the figure that Victoria Police believe that as much as $30,000 could have been won on the rigged Counter-Strike matches that triggered the first major esports integrity investigation in Australia.

That’s not the only juicy detail, though. Neil Paterson, the assistant commissioner of Victoria Police, told the ABC that he believed more esports corruption cases to emerge. And that was immediately followed by a paragraph suggesting that concerns have been raised around the ownership of an Overwatch contenders team:

[Victoria Police’s] Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit has received reports of match fixing in other Counter-Strike: Global Offensive games, and about organised crime links to the ownership of an Australian-based team that plays the Overwatch Contenders game.

The team isn’t named, although most of the teams in the Australian Overwatch Contenders league also have teams in other games. “We are seeing people encroach on that area that have reputations that [mean they] probably … shouldn’t be involved in this part of esports,” the assistant police commissioner is quoted as saying.

I’ve contacted Blizzard Australia for comment, asking whether they were aware of the investigation, the assistant commissioner’s remarks and what steps they take to ensure the integrity of tournaments in Australia. I’ve also contacted the Esports Integrity Commission, which helped Victoria Police with the original Counter-Strike investigation, for further clarification on the commissioner’s remarks.


This story originally appeared on Kotaku Australia.

Source: Kotaku.com

Man Arrested After Allegedly Threatening Osaka Game Company With Arson

Screenshot: FNN

A 25-year-old man has been arrested after sending threatening messages to Osaka-based visual novel company Visual Arts. One of the company’s brands, Key, had its visual novels adapted into anime by Kyoto Animation.

According to FNN and MBS (via ANN), suspect Toshiki Benikawa, from Shizuoka Prefecture, allegedly sent messages threatening arson and murder to the company and employees last month. On Twitter, he also wrote, “I’m getting the gasoline ready.”

Benikawa has admitted to threatening Visual Arts.

In July, an arsonist set fire to Kyoto Animation, killing 35 employees. In August, a 40-year-old man was arrested after threatening Square Enix with “a repeat of Kyoto Animation.”

Source: Kotaku.com

Square Enix Hit With More Death Threats, Cancels Game Tournaments

Image: Square Enix
Kotaku EastEast is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.  

Starting this weekend, there were supposed to be events for mecha arcade game Starwing Paradox at four cities across Japan. Those events have been canceled due to death threats.

According to an official Square Enix statement, there have been several death threats made against Starwing Paradox’s management team. Square Enix has reported the threats and is cooperating fully with police. As a precautionary measure, the Starwing Paradox tournaments for this weekend and next weekend in Tokyo, Yokohama, Nagoya, and Fukuoka have been canceled.

Released in Japanese arcades last November, Starwing Paradox features animation sequences done by Sunrise, the anime studio best known for Gundam.

The threats are the latest in a string of incidents. This month, a man was arrested after allegedly threatening Square Enix with a repeat of the terrible Kyoto Animation arson over mobile game displeasure. Another man was arrested earlier this year for threatening to kill Square Enix staff over a game.

Square Enix apologized to those looking forward to the now-canceled Starwing Paradox tournaments.

Source: Kotaku.com

Fortnite’s Teenage World Champ Swatted Live On Stream

Photo: Mike Stobe (Getty)

Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf, the newly-crowned 16 year-old Fortnite World Cup solo champion, was playing the game in a stream last night when his home was “swatted.”

Because he streaming live on Twitch, we’ve got video recorded at the time the cops arrive, and in the middle of a game we can hear as he’s interrupted by his father telling him that there were armed police at the door.

Bugha quickly leaves, and is gone for around 10 minutes. Here’s the video of when he returns, saying “They come in with guns, bro. They literally pulled up, holy shit.”

Swattings are such a menace because, aside from the time and resources being wasted, they can also be incredibly dangerous. In 2017, a dispute over a Call of Duty game led to a swatting in which a man was killed by police.

Thankfully, this particular situation was quickly defused because one of the officers attending the incident lives in Bugha’s neighbourhood and recognised the teen.

Source: Kotaku.com

Man Allegedly Stole $13,900 Worth of Duel Masters Cards, Gets Arrested

Kotaku EastEast is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.  

A 33-year-old man has been arrested by the Tokyo police after he allegedly stole 34 Duel Masters cards worth 1.5 million yen ($13,907).

Asahi Shimbun reports that on July 18 at around 5:20 a.m., suspect Kenshi Oba allegedly scaled construction scaffolding and broke into the second floor of a card shop. No staff members were in the shop at the time.

The shop’s showcase was smashed, and Oba is accused of stealing 34 Duel Masters cards, which were later resold.

According to Asahi Shimbun, security cameras reportedly filmed the suspect near the crime scene. Oba has since confessed, saying he needed money to pay back a friend.

Source: Kotaku.com

33 Confirmed Dead After Fire At Kyoto Animation, Suspected Arsonist In Custody [Updated]

Kotaku EastEast is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.  

A fire, suspected to be arson, at a Kyoto, Japan animation studio has left at least 33 people dead and hospitalized more with injuries. A man in his 40s, allegedly seen pouring a flammable liquid at the site and setting it on fire, has been taken into police custody.

The fire occurred at the Studio 1 building of Kyoto Animation, one of Japan’s most popular producers of anime. At around 10 a.m. JST Thursday morning, residents living near the studio heard the sound of an explosion and saw smoke emitting from the building, which is located in Kyoto’s Fushimi ward. One witness said the suspect was screaming “Die” as he lit the fire.

Kyoto Animation, founded in 1981, is known for anime like The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Lucky Star, K-On! and more recently, Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid and Free!, among many others. While the building that was set on fire was its main animation studio, the company’s head office is in Uji City, Kyoto, which is about 20 minutes away by car.

The company’s co-founder and CEO Hideaki Hatta told reporters that for the past few years, death threats had often been sent to the company.

In the aftermath of the event, fans have posting messages, expressing sorrow and offering condolences using a #prayforkyoani hashtag on Twitter.

This developing story has been updated since its original publication. A list of updates is below.

Updated: 7/18/2019, 8:26 a.m. ET: Thirty-three people have been confirmed dead.

Updated: 7/18/2019, 7:09 a.m. ET: Twenty-five people have been confirmed dead.

Updated: 7/18/2019, 6:09 a.m. ET: Fans have posting messages, expressing sorrow and offering condolences using a #prayforkyoani hashtag on Twitter.

Updated: 7/18/2019, 5:18 a.m. ET: Kyoto Animation CEO Hideaki Hatta told reporters that for the past few years, death threats have often been sent to the company.

Updated: 7/18/2019, 4:36 a.m. ET: Sixteen people are now confirmed dead, the Japanese TV media reports.

Updated: 7/18/2019, 3:30 a.m. ET: An announcement scheduled tomorrow for Kyoto Animation’s new Free! movie has been canceled. [Editor’s note: This update originally stated that the movie had been canceled. It has not. We regret the error.]

Updated: 7/18/2019, 3:08 a.m. ET: The Japanese media is now reporting that seven people are confirmed dead.

Updated: 7/18/2019, 12:59 a.m. ET: One witness said the suspect was screaming “die” as he lit the fire.

Updated: 7/18/2019, 12:46 a.m. ET: According to Japanese TV news, there are still people trapped in the studio and there are 20 people who are still unaccounted for.

Earlier: Sankei News reported that 38 employees have been taken to the hospital for major and minor injuries. ANN added that nine people are unconscious. According to Kyoto Shimbun, one person is reported dead.

Source: Kotaku.com

$60,000 Pokemon Card Goes Missing In The Mail

In August 2018, someone on eBay paid $60,000 for a very rare Pokemon card. It’s now almost a year later, the card still hasn’t arrived, and nobody knows where it’s got to.

YouTuber and Pokemon card collector smpratte has the story (via CNET), as he claims to know both the buyer and seller personally. What appears to have happened, smpratte says, is that having sold the card for $60,000 last year to someone outside the US, the seller posted it domestically, after which the card was forwarded to a Global Shipping Program centre in New York City.

The card was signed for, valued at $50,000 for insurance purposes—the highest figure possible—and was supposed to then be sent on its way. However that’s where the card’s journey ends, as no further tracking was ever noted, and no trace of it has turned up since.

The card in question is a “Trainer No.3″ (left), one of the rarest in existence, which was given out to third-place finishers at a “Secret Super Battle” in Japan in 1999. smpratte guesses that the card went missing at the New York GSP office when someone noted the insured value of the package, but there’s no proof of that; the video instead seems mostly geared towards warning whoever is in possession of it now that, thanks to the card’s rarity, there’s no way it can be sold without attracting the attention of people who know what it is and who legally owns it.

The buyer is now offering $1000 for information that can help track down the card’s whereabouts (you can contact smpratte for more details).

You may leave any and all Detective Pikachu jokes below in the comments.

Source: Kotaku.com

Alleged Manga Pirate Arrested After Japan Launches Global Manhunt

Screenshot: ANN
Kotaku EastEast is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.  

Romi Hoshino, the manager of now-shuttered site Manga-Mura, has been arrested in Manila. The site, which was taken offline last April, was frequented by around 100 million people each month and made around 60,000 manga available free of charge, reports AFP. The Japanese government created a special task force to find Hoshino, a Japanese citizen, and launched a manhunt to track him down.

NHK reports that the investigation was launched after complaints from manga publishers, adding that authorities believe the 27-year-old Hoshino had a central role in running the site.

Manga-Mura launched in August 2017. Mainichi News reports that the Content Overseas Distribution Association estimates that Manga-Mura cost $2.93 billion in copyright violation damages, making it the worst copyright violation in Japanese history.

Hoshino was about to leave for Hong Kong when he was arrested on Sunday at Ninoy Aquino International Airport. The arrest was made at the request of the Japanese Embassy in Manila. According to news reports, he is expected to be deported to Japan. Japanese police have an arrest warrant for once Hoshino is extradited, NHK and ANN report.

“We are in close coordination with our foreign counterparts who send us information about criminals who might be hiding in the Philippines,” Bureau of Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente was quoted as saying. “His presence in the country is a risk to public safety and security.”

Source: Kotaku.com

The Curse Of The Yakuza Games

The Yakuza games and their spin-offs have long starred some of Japan’s biggest celebrities. Now that some of those celebs have ended up in trouble, there are rumblings of a Yakuza curse. Dun dun dun.

Earlier this year, actor and musician Pierre Taki, who appeared in the Yakuza spin-off Judgment, was picked up on drug charges. The arrest resulted in Sega removing him from the game and Sony Music terminating his band’s contract. Taki isn’t the only celebrity in a Yakuza game (or its spin-offs) ending up in trouble. He isn’t even the only one this year! Perhaps there is a reason why it’s now being said that the Yakuza games are cursed.

According to website Re:Geinou, there are rumblings of a Ryu ga Gotoku no noroi (龍が如くの呪い) or “Yakuza curse”, with Ryu Ga Gotoku being the Japanese name for the Yakuza games.

Last year, actor Hiroki Narimiya was replaced in the Yakuza 4 remaster. In late 2016, he was photographed allegedly using cocaine, causing the actor to announce he was leaving the entertainment industry. But the most recent celebrity to fall victim to the Yakuza’s nefarious power is comedian Hiroyuki Miyasako, who lent his voice fo Tsuyoshi Kanda in Yakuza 3 and played Tsuyoshi Nagumo in Yakuza 6 (above).

Miyasako came under fire for appearing at a party held by a rather unsavory group of people. In Japanese, this sort of group is known as a hanshakaiteki seiryoku (反社会的勢力), which is typically translated as an “anti-social organization.” These groups are fraudsters, attempting to swindle folks out of money. They can be members of organized crime groups known as bouryokudan (暴力団), literally meaning “violent group” but colloquially referred to as yakuza. They can also be connected to those criminal organizations or be their own independent group. In short, they’re the kind of thing you’d see in Sega’s popular crime games.

Miyasako was one of over ten comedians who appeared at an event hosted by an anti-social organization. Also included in those comedians wrapped up in the scandal is Yoshinari Fukushima, who was Mr. Moneybags in Yakuza 0.

At first, Miyasako said he didn’t know that such a group was hosting the event and that he was not paid for attending. However, it was later revealed that he had been paid. The fee he received would, thus, be considered dirty money. His talent agency, the powerful Yoshimoto Kogyo, has temporarily banned Miyasako from appearing on any TV shows. The future of Ame Talk, the long-running variety show he co-hosts, seems uncertain as sponsors no doubt have concerns about Miyasako’s accepting payment from a criminal enterprise.

Considering how many celebrities are in the Yakuza games and considering the historical connection between the entertainment business and illegal activities, Yakuza’s track record isn’t too bad. As with Madden, I don’t really believe there is a curse. However, I will not be surprised when more of its stars run into trouble. You shouldn’t be, either.

Source: Kotaku.com

American Fugitive Is A Small Town Version Of GTA

I was driving fast in a ugly sedan. The police were chasing me and I was trying to lose them. I had robbed a home and got caught in the process. Now the cops were hot on my trail. I flipped a corner and they lost me. I quickly jumped out of my car, hopped a fence and found some clothes drying in a backyard. Jackpot! I grabbed a new outfit and quickly put it on then hopped another fence and watched police whiz by, still looking for some dude in a black shirt.

This kind of stuff happens often while playing American Fugitive, a game heavily inspired by top-down Grand Theft Auto games but set in the Midwest.

And unlike the bigger and newer GTA titles, American Fugitive is more focused on small-town crimes and hijinks. You won’t be robbing multimillion-dollar government superjets or selling jetpacks to domestic terrorists. Instead, American Fugitive is all about breaking into homes, knocking over convenience stores, ditching cops in dirt road pursuits and small-town politics. Like, for example, how the Sheriff is corrupt and a member of a rival family.

The mission design in the first few hours reflects this smaller and more grounded world of rural crime. Most missions take only a few minutes to finish and are fairly simple. Maybe too simple? I really felt the missions, like stealing a police car or blowing up some rivals, never felt very involved in the first hours of the game. Maybe later missions add more depth? I really hope so.

Even still, the main draw of American Fugitive is the open world and all the different ways players can interact with it and the citizens living there.

Nearly every building can be broken into or entered. This is done via a mini-game using a blueprint of the building. It may not be as impressive as creating and rendering hundreds of individual homes, but it works well enough and casing a joint before hitting it is tense. You need to be patient to commit a perfect robbery. Check each window, make sure nobody is home, bring a rock or crowbar to break the window or lock, then quickly search around for loot. Get too lazy and check only a few windows and you might climb into a house and right into the eyes of its owner, who is now calling the cops.

Unlike Grand Theft Auto games, the world reacts more to you and your crimes. Walk around with a gun? People will call the cops. Crash into some street lights or parked cars? Cops get called. Trespass onto someone’s lawn? Cops are coming, buddy. This might sound annoying, but it actually makes the world feel more intense and every mission and activity can be screwed up by breaking a small law.

At one point I participated in the mandatory open world video game activity of “racing around the map in a short amount of time.” But unlike most open world games that don’t let police chase you during these side activities, American Fugitive does. I was about to get a fast completion time, slammed through a fence and someone called the cops on me for dangerous driving. Suddenly my race became a high-speed pursuit.

After playing games like GTA and Saint’s Row for years, American Fugitive feels very different. Having to worry about traffic laws, keeping my guns hidden, etc. made nearly every mission and moment a bit more exciting.

Sadly, American Fugitive feels unfinished and cheap in some spots. This is a smaller game from a smaller studio, so I understand there are limits. But I really wish the game ran better. On my PS4 Pro I found the framerate to be all over the place and ran into some audio bugs. The menus and cutscenes also feel like the fell out of a mobile game from a few years ago. Camera controls are also messy and I would love to see a patch to improve them.

But I still enjoy playing American Fugitive. I like an open world crime game that actually makes committing crimes feel exciting and even like a small puzzle. Should I cut this corner and risk getting cops called on me? Should
I use guns in this mission and get police sent to my location? These are questions I never really asked myself while playing GTA and I like having to worry about these smaller details of committing crimes.

I just wish the game had more interesting missions, felt a bit more finished and had better performance on consoles.

Source: Kotaku.com