Japan’s police chief has finally apologised for ruining the lives of 4 virus victims suspected of plotting mass murder, all falsely arrested on the belief that an IP address constituted irrefutable proof of guilt, and in several cases apparently coerced into admitting their guilt.
Police now admit that they made a total of 4 arrests based on their belief that IP addresses constituted a 100% guarantee of guilt after the supposed suspects starting making random threats of violence, which had actually been made by remote control after their PCs were infected with viruses.
3 of these suspects have since been released, although the 4th was already convicted and sentenced.
Top police investigators are quoted candidly admitting they were making cyber-crimes arrests without having a clue what they were doing:
“Well, we thought that if we had their IP address the investigation was basically half done. All this is totally unexpected.”
In one of the more tragic cases, police arrested a 19-year-old student at a prestigious university for threatening to kill all the children at an elementary school.
He initially denied the charges, but by the time the court had convicted and sentenced him to probation, he was on record as saying “when I saw those happy kids, I felt they had something I didn’t so I wanted to cause them trouble.”
Having presumably been coerced into signing a confession prepared by police, he was forced to quit university and probably finds his formerly promising career prospects in a shambles as a result.
Police were further humiliated when an anonymous individual claiming to have been the one controlling his PC with a virus contacted TBS to taunt them – it was only this incident which actually persuaded them to reopen the investigation and start questioning him again.
The sole piece of evidence in this case appears to be his IP attached to the threatening message and the false confession police eventually managed to wring out of him.
The chief of Japan’s National Police Agency also made a less than grovelling public apology over the arrests, saying “there is a high probability we did not arrest the real culprits.”
Given the frequency with which Japanese police employ IP addresses to bring a variety of charges, most of which not only end in a conviction but a frank confession as well, there may be a great many similar cases yet to be brought to light – to say nothing of their efforts to arrest the operators of 2ch for drug dealing, gain the power to delete any messages they see fit, and their recent success in criminalising downloads.
Online there is total disgust with the performance of police:
“It is terrifying to think these idiots just got the power to arrest anyone they suspect of illegally downloading copyrighted material.”
“They don’t care at all about all their false arrests and forced confessions.”
“No wonder the likes of Google or Skype don’t come out of Japan, we are backwards when it comes to IT.”
“Nothing will change Japanese police and the false charges and confessions they rely on.”
“This is exactly how they get all their chikan confessions.”
“They aren’t even sorry!”
“Honestly, the methods our police employ have not changed since the middle ages…”
“Obviously the kid was made to quit the university.”
“That poor kid.”
“What a beautiful country we live in, to allow this.”
“I hope they let him go back to university, it would be a travesty if they didn’t.”
“The university will probably just blame him for making a false confession.”
“Even if he could, the rumours at the uni will have ruined his reputation.”
“The life of a promising young man ruined.”
“And how many years will the police who forced him to confess server, I wonder?”
“At least he was too young for his name to be reported.”
“1 click was all it took to ruin his life…”