Virus Hacker Charged with “Hijacking Aircraft”

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The hacker police accuse of tricking them into forcing 4 people to confess to making online death threats (or “Yuuchan” as 2ch has taken to calling him) has been charged with aircraft hijacking related offences, as police were forced to release him after having failed to make their initial charges stick.

The supposed hacker who used a remote control virus to make threats which caused police to force 4 innocents to confess to crimes they did not commit has been charged with obstructing the operation of an aircraft under Japan’s anti-hijacking law.

The threat in question was submitted to a Japanese airline’s homepage via an infected PC in August of 2012, saying he had “taken a bomb aboard” a flight to New York from Narita.

Police brought the charges after the 23 day maximum they can imprison a suspect without prosecution expired, forcing them to release him – though in spite of the dangers he represents to the nation’s aircraft, they released him (giving him a status similar to bail) rather than imprisoning him for another 23 days.

As police apparently have at least a dozen offences they can charge him with, it was feared they intended to bring the charges against him one by one and hold him for the maximum 23 days each time, which would allow them the possibility of years of detention, until he broke and admitted his “guilt.”

The main evidence against him is that he was spotted by surveillance cameras near the cats which inhabit Enoshima, the isle of the goddess of music Benzaiten, one of which had an SD card missive from the hacker attached to its collar.

Police used this lead to trace his vehicle back to his residence, and discovered he had prior convictions for making various nuisance death threats, and that he worked with computers and had used Tor on a PC at work.

However, no evidence has been found on his PCs, he apparently does not know the language the virus was coded in (C#), no further details about the virus code supposedly found on Dropbox and tied to him by the FBI have been released, police reported no progress in their investigation for weeks, and he strenuously denies the charges (although he does admit visiting the cats of Enoshima).

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Most problematic of all for the police, a member of an animal welfare group near Enoshima has revealed that he recognised him as a man who has made regularly weekly trips to the island to care for the cats which live there for years – along with the gentle implication that he struck him as being a bit simple.

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Even the mass media, which gleefully profiled him as a creepy otaku criminal immediately following his arrest, has begun to scale back its presumption of his guilt – although they still have difficulty clearly communicating the fact he has been released, as most reports refer to his “rearrest” whilst omitting or burying any mention of his release.

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Police still insist he must be guilty:

“We have gathered objective evidence and have no doubt he is guilty.”

That the police appear to be exercising themselves to an extent not normally seen outside of major murder or terrorism investigations over a few anonymous and scarcely credible death threats, even going so far as to involve the FBI, has also been the subject of more than a little criticism – not least from the suspect’s lawyer:

“This is an unjust arrest. The police are piling shame on shame after arresting the wrong person in Osaka. Releasing him is a step in the right direction, at least.”

He reports his client is refusing further interviews with police until they agree to record the interrogations – anathema to Japanese police for obvious reasons.

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63 Comments

  • Anonymous says:

    if this guy is innocent this is horrible, they’ll definately jail him anyway since japan’s legal system is like that, but from what’s been seen so far they could have just got some simple cat loving otaku as a scapegoat.

  • This entire story sounds like an episode of 2nd Gig.
    The hacker is traced but turns out to be a simple minded cat person…

    There is some evidence but not enough…

    So the strange man is released but still considered a suspect…

    Until the next act of hacking is again traced back to him.

  • Kinny Riddle says:

    “He reports his client is refusing further interviews with police until they agree to record the interrogations – anathema to Japanese police for obvious reasons.”

    Good for him (presuming he’s actually genuinely innocent), that’ll make the Japan police look like complete and utter idiots by dragging it out for the world to see. About time someone get Amnesty International involved as well.

  • Anonymous says:

    If the police have “objective evidence and no doubt of his guilt” then charge him and be done with it.. If the evidence isnt enough proof of his guilt then he should be considered innocent. Tis how law works and all.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Police brought the charges after the 23 day maximum they can imprison a suspect without prosecution expired, forcing them to release him:
    To be clear, the procedure in Japan is as follows:
    1) Police arrest you; you wait until you can appear in front of a prosecutor and judge, which can take up to 3 days.
    2) The judge can order your release, but he won’t.
    3) Then you can initially be kept for 10 days, after which you’ll see the judge.
    4) This is a formality; although he can order your release, he will usually grant a 10 day extension.
    5) After this time expires, there are two possibilities.
    a) The police charge you and a judge approves: you can be kept until trial.
    b) You are released.
    6) If during any of these steps you are released, the police can rearrest you. This can happen without you so much as exiting the building. Go back to step 1.
    ——–
    So in short, you can be kept any number of 22-23 day intervals, the only pressure on the police being that they get sick of it, or maybe concern about what would happen if the same judge were to see the guy he just released appear again, even though no new evidence is brought to light.
    The pressure on you to confess however will be huge. 12 hours of interrogation a day aren’t unheard of, interviews aren’t recorded, sleep deprivation (yes, you read that right: torture) can be used, heavy pressure, lying about whether you have the right to remain silent and your likelihood of rearrest and so on. Police officers will often refuse to record any statement you make that is not a confession; if you don’t come up with a confession yourself, they will type one up for you and try to coax you into signing it (this is fun: the text will be in Japanese even if you’re a foreigner, but that won’t make the confession invalid).
    In general the best advice is to refuse to say anything and wait until they have to release you. The prospect of rearrest is of course nasty but not that common and all the alternatives are worse. Confess, and you’ll be convicted and convictions are hard to overturn. Say things to them that the police think helps them build a case and you might be charged and kept until the trial starts.
    Remain silent, don’t sign anything you can’t read, don’t sign confessions. Whether professing your innocence helps is debatable. a) Every single person says he’s innocent at the start. b) Professing innocence can turn into a slippery slope into story telling and if something you say doesn’t match up to what the police think, this can be evidence of lying and hence guilt.

    • If you get arrested in a foreign country, just sit there. Between bouts of keeping your head to the table and muttering old irish folk tunes, and manic sessions of picking a single word from the language of that country and repeating it at different intervals and pitches and levels of loudness, you’ll put on quite a show.

      You’d also be my hero.

    • Anonymous says:

      The confession text will be in Japanese even for gaijin. That’s obvious, this is Japan, why would they use any other language? Gaijin should also be prosecuted in Japanese and all communications should be in Japanese. If the gaijin doesn’t understand, it’s its own problem and should have either stayed in its country or not do anything that would arise any suspicions at all, including not looking or being remotely near any JK or minor.

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s still up to 23 days *before* police has to file any charges.

      What the hell kind of system is that? Even in China it’s 48 hours max before suspect has to be charged.

      If you’re going to frame someone, at least have the decency of doing it in a timely manner.

      • Anonymous says:

        It’s trivial to do a web search to verify it.
        In any case, in Japan you’re usually granted access to a legal aid lawyer only one (1!) time. If he’s remotely competent, he’ll tell you the same thing.
        Access to a paid lawyer will cost you thousands of dollars and will be of limited use since a) lawyers aren’t allowed to be present at interviews and b) he’ll tell you the same thing anyway.
        By the way, up until WWII the police investigation was inquisitorial. Under the influence of the American occupation it became adversarial, but the procedures haven’t changed to account for this.
        The JFBA supports videotaping all police interviews to mitigate the issue.

      • Anonymous says:

        While you have a point there about advice on the internet from strangers.

        What he says is completely true. I suppose if you truly want to don’t listen to anything he says. Sign confessions, do not remain silent. Sign something you can’t read.

        You truly have the right to do that.

  • Anonymous says:

    I don’t know, I hope he isn’t licking the pussys like Aya Hirano and that other crazy Japanese lady does. If a cat has his tounge then the police got the wrong guy as he as well was framed up by the ‘gang stalker’ crew and is being witch hunted. It would seem to me.

  • Sounds like they have the wrong person but are too arrogant to admit they made a mistake.

    Now this says there is a need for some serious changes in the Japanese legal system.

    “As police apparently have at least a dozen offences they can charge him with, it was feared they intended to bring the charges against him one by one and hold him for the maximum 23 days each time, which would allow them the possibility of years of detention, until he broke and admitted his “guilt.”

    • Changes? The last time Japan was sincerely willing to change completely out of their own will was when the Americans parked their boats around the Japanese coastal line and told them to open their borders for trade or otherwise be forced to participate in a rather one-sided exchange of artillery fire.

      When Japan makes ‘changes’ it just means that they put together some sort of committee to come up with any kind of formal legislation that can be bypassed or circumvented in as numerous ways as possible. Then some rep makes a shameful and apologetic appearance in public claiming to have seen the error of his ways.

      Then it’s just business as usual again.