Thieves going to jail for stealing in-game items

Two thieves who cleared victim's game account have been fined and will be going to jail.

Two thieves have been sentenced to prison terms for stealing items in an online game. The two men hail from China's Sichuan province, and are now required to serve time in jail in addition to paying fines for cybertheft.

According to Kotaku, the men were active in multiplayer action-game Dungeon Fighter Online. Surnamed Wang and Cai, the unemployed duo realised they could generate cash by selling in-game items for real-world money.

The two were able to steal the login information of a player known as Mr. Ma and used this information to clean out his virtual accounts to the amount of $6,405. Wang and Cai were caught within a month by police, and are now facing two years in prison.

Zorine Te is an associate editor at GameSpot, and you can follow her on Twitter @ztharli
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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Zorine “harli” Te is a long time competitive gamer and also an Associate Editor at GameSpot.

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Discussion

274 comments
Penguinlord1
Penguinlord1

Oh DFO, I really do miss you. Got hours upon hours of enjoyment out of you before you closed down. :(

amdreallyfast
amdreallyfast

This doesn't seem to be a case of item-ninja theft, but more of "steal a person's login info and sell items for real cash", which is more like violation of terms and identity theft.  Jail time is justified for that.

Reuwsaat
Reuwsaat

I don't know if I'm more impressed by the fact that stealing game cash puts you in prision, or the fact that that dude had goddamn $6.405 on a game, or even more that that game was the 2D Dungeon FIghter. 

PrpleTrtleBuBum
PrpleTrtleBuBum

The headline made me thing - should stealing in Thief be penalized? This site once had that video talking how morally questionable it is to jump on turtles in Mario. But if you can get sentenced for plotting a murder or other crime, wouldn't playing a game count as intention. Didn't Breivik say he played CoD to learn killing.


In this liberal age when squirrels and transgenders have rights, why don't the poor NPCs of games have any?

tightwad34
tightwad34

Thieves will be thieves. Still, there's something about hiding behind an anonymous shield that somehow to me makes it a bit worse. At least their shield was weak. Just maybe this will deter at least one person from committing something like this. I will never condone stealing, but to me the worst way to do it is being cowards like these guys. I am glad at least someone got caught out of the many, many more that didn't, at least yet.

SpLiTMaN
SpLiTMaN

nice wish they'ed catch the bastards hacking wow and eve accounts also...+1 to virtual justice!

PJthePlayer2
PJthePlayer2

As weird as this case may be... monetary theft is monetary theft.  If a person possesses something worth money whether it be a physical object, an idea, or a virtual item it is still worth money.  Especially considering the items were sold for money by the thieves. 

liquidbutter
liquidbutter

I wish all who hack someone else's online game account could be prosecuted to this level. Same shit happened to my MapleStory account back in the day and I knew the guy that did it too.

ecs33
ecs33

Jail for less than 10 grand..lol. Priorities, people.

Cruxis27
Cruxis27

"I was caught with half a kilo of coke."

"I stabbed a dude."

"I used another person's personal info to buy and sell magical hats and pants." 

Paulf001
Paulf001

Only in China would you go to jail for stealing something in a online game.

sunyatanada76
sunyatanada76

Well, I guess if your gonna steal shit. Don't do it in china.

spacecadet25
spacecadet25

What is the typical sentence for cybertheft in the U.S.?  Just curious if they steal from one person do they get a year or two, or if they do one of those major schemes and steals 100k credit cards' info, do they get like a 20 year sentence, or more?  Seems like the more people's lives affected the penalty should escalate greatly.

jameson420
jameson420

So is that punch me in the face Prison, or Pound me in the ass Prison?

drumjod
drumjod

@PrpleTrtleBuBum  Squirrels and transgenders are living beings with feelings and they experience pain and joy. Non-playable characters in video games are not alive, do not have real feelings, and do not experience pain or joy.


I hope that clears up your confusion after you asked, "In this liberal age when squirrels and transgenders have rights, why don't the poor NPCs of games have any?"

PrpleTrtleBuBum
PrpleTrtleBuBum

I think they could actually build a game around that. GTA-like world in which some players are trying to harm the NPCs in various ways and the other players are police trying to protect the NPCs.

tycoonwill00
tycoonwill00

Not if your shower buddy's name is wey Long dong lol

liquidbutter
liquidbutter

Oddly, if you're a celebrity or politician you really can have someone prosecuted for hacking your online account. I remember there was that one guy that got put away for getting into Sarah Palin's email just by figuring out the answer to her secret question, which wasn't very secret.

CoolCamel616
CoolCamel616

@ecs33 I think any theft over one thousand leads to jail time in Canada (maybe not, everything I learned about Canadian law is from Trailer Park Boys so who knows), so in a much more penal society like China I would imagine the threshold is even lower. In some eastern countries even minor theft is punished by cutting off fingers or even entire hands/limbs, so I'd say they got off relatively easy. Although I guess that depends on how bad it is to be a prisoner in China.

vscott453
vscott453

@ecs33  So you think they should amend this to their ToS agreement? Ultimately the company has a right to press charges. A crime is still a crime no matter how you view its priorities. Making money off of closed source code that you put not .01% of development does not give you no right to sell it. That is what open source is for. And if a company says don't do it, then don't f'ing do it. No matter. Its not the price its the principle.


inb4 people getting killed and killers getting away. Dude, i am from chicago. Not as bad as say detroit. But living in a place where 35+ people dying in a weekend almost every week is my real life. The problem with that is not enough cops over everyone who wants to be a gang banger and the community not wanting to snitch because of their own safety. Its rough out here. But I see where you coming from. Just that all crime needs to be fixed. And what do you think gangs do....steal. Theft, money, and envy is the core of the streets

IndremaLover
IndremaLover

@ecs33  


It's China.  They're not as cool with crime as we are here in the US of A.

And that's over a years average salary over there.

endorbr
endorbr

@Cruxis27 Guess we know who's going to be the b**ch then...

olddadgamer
olddadgamer

@spacecadet25 Laws vary a lot by state, and vary in regards to the federal courts.  Where I am, the law could care less about how you steal.  As long as there's no violence involved, we have larceny and that's it.  Doesn't matter if you break a window, hack a computer, embezzle from your employer, all the same.  All that matters is how much did you steal.  But that's kinda rare in terms of how states treat it. 

k41m
k41m

@jameson420  The US seems to be one of the only countries that have pound me in the ass prisons. Makes you wonder what the hell is wrong with us. 

endorbr
endorbr

@jameson420"...we're not going to white-collar resort prison. No, no, no. We're going to federal POUND ME IN THE ASS prison." 

naomha1
naomha1

@jameson420  All of China's prisons are "punch me in the face" prisons. Supposedly, in China, if you're caught having homosexual sex you are beaten within an inch of your life. Yeah, personal rights and freedoms are pretty nonexistent once you go to jail over there.

PrpleTrtleBuBum
PrpleTrtleBuBum

@drumjod @PrpleTrtleBuBumThink about the A.I. in Mass Effect or I, Robot for example. Where is the point when we start to care?

I think the NPCs I have seen have experienced some terrible pain, and lil bits of gratitude occassionally.

Then there are real human beings and even animals who lack the ability to feel anything.

jadeinshades
jadeinshades

@endorbr  I know right!? Coke's for PUSSYS!!! Gotta step it up with some Meth if you wanna make it in the big house. ;)

xbr85
xbr85

@naomha1 @jameson420 Wtf are u talking about? He's talking about prison rape, not romantic lovemaking. If you get beaten up within an inch of your life for raping another inmate in China, that's a good thing. I really couldn't give any less of a f*ck if some rapists "personal right" to rape others is denied them.

spacecadet25
spacecadet25

@naomha1 @jameson420 I hope that user who is the Chewbacca guy sees this post, I wonder what he'd think about no ass-raping in Chinese prison, since he has an interest in ass-rapes.  :)

tightwad34
tightwad34

@OldKye So they really were picking up each other's tents with a crane and dangling them over a river while an unsuspecting person was inside so they would fall in the water? Thems fightin' words right there. Doesn't matter if they were doing it to each other. They sound like some complete jackasses. I hope he gets his karma(or all of them for that matter).

OldKye
OldKye

@aka_the_seeker @tightwad34 @Hansolo50  lol people over read into it they are trying to act like they are stupid on the show(and legitimately are sometimes lol.) him getting in trouble for something he said is about as big news as south park being offensive.


To put the show into perspective someone sent in they never actually review cars people can buy lol so they took consumer cars and saw which one could go upside down in a tunnel, how well it jumps a bridge, how well it can get off of a 40 story crane should you for some reason find yourself stuck on one.........


As you can imagine they rub some people the wrong way lol.

I saw the one the were talking about they tried to build a bridge and after almost killing each other for things like using the crane to pick up each others tents well sleeping and hanging them over the water so in the morning they fell in the river, the bridge as you can imagine wasn't very good.  So one of them said "it doesn't look right" which was correct one side was like 5 feet lower then the other and he said "yeah it's got a bit of a slope on it doesn't it."

Well there happened to be a Asian man way way way in the distance on the bridge about to walk over and people jumped on it I had to look up what they were referring to lol.


Of course the sad part is since its a slur that no one has used in 20 years now everyone knows it again thus as always doing more harm by trying to point it out then if you had just realized he's stupid lol.

endorbr
endorbr

@sunyatanada76 Not really seeing the relevance of that particular quote in this case.  Are you proposing anarchy then?

sunyatanada76
sunyatanada76

Let he who is without sin cast the first stone

endorbr
endorbr

@sunyatanada76 I haven't stolen any goods real or digital from anyone... not intentionally at least so I'm not following you.

olddadgamer
olddadgamer

@sunyatanada76 I try to fight the good fight.  Someone has to, or the whole "gamers are nuts" thing will become truth.

sunyatanada76
sunyatanada76

Thanks for the reply, not used to intelligent folk around here, hope you don't get burned out from the trolls

olddadgamer
olddadgamer

@sunyatanada76 What, when I was prosecuting?  Not really, but that's probably because the county I worked in was very big, with a lot of suburbia, so we had a smaller number of minorities than many counties do.  Demographic, really.  


I think the bias in the system doesn't so much come from choosing who to prosecute, or who commits crimes.  I think that as there are so few minority judges, sentences tend to be harsher for minorities convicted of crimes.  I think I could say that's what I saw, especially when the crime involved violence by a minority against a white person.  But that's judicial discretion, not prosecutorial discretion.  I went after all of 'em equally in terms of convicting them.  That was my job.

jameson420
jameson420

@xbr85  Liquid butter got it, it's a reference to a funny movie. Go watch it and take a chill pill!