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Virtual Crimes, Real Penalties

In both Japan and Holland, courts have come to decisions, imposing real life penalties on those who have committed crimes in virtual worlds.

In Japan, a woman who hacked into a man’s account and killed his avatar after he ended their virtual marriage in the role-playing game Maple Story, faces charges of illegally accessing a computer and manipulating electronic data. She hasn’t yet been charged, but if found guilty, it could result in five years in prison as well as a $5,000 fine.

A police official in the city of Sapporo quoted the woman as saying:

"I was suddenly divorced – without a word of warning. That made me so angry."

Meanwhile in Holland, two teenagers found guilty of attacking another boy on Runescape have been sentenced to 180 hours of community service or 80 days in jail. They were fond guilty on an in-game attack against the boy’s avatar before forcing him to hand over his in-game money and items, Vnunet reports.

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