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).
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.
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.
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.