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Cyberkiller may do real jail time

A 43-year-old player in a virtual game world became so angry about her sudden divorce from her online husband that she logged on with his password and killed his digital persona, police said Thursday.

The woman, who has been jailed on suspicion of illegally accessing a computer and manipulating electronic data, used his ID and password to log on to the popular interactive game “MapleStory” to carry out the virtual murder in May, a police official in the northern city of Sapporo said.

“I was suddenly divorced, without a word of warning. That made me so angry,” the official quoted her as telling investigators and admitting the allegations.

The woman, a piano teacher, had not plotted any revenge in the real world, the official said.

She had not yet been formally charged. If convicted, she could face up to five years in prison or a fine up to $5,000.

Players in “MapleStory” create and manipulate digital images called avatars that represent themselves, while engaging in relationships, social activities and fighting monsters and other obstacles.

The woman used login information she got from the 33-year-old office worker when their characters were happily married to kill the character. The man complained to police when he discovered that his online avatar was dead.

The woman was arrested Wednesday and taken 620 miles from her home in southern Miyazaki to be detained in Sapporo, where the man lives, the official said.

The police official said he did not know if she was married in the real world.

In recent years, virtual lives have had consequences in the real world.

When bad deeds lead to criminal charges, prosecutors have found a real-world activity to cite — as in this case, in which the woman was charged with inappropriate computer access.

In August, a woman was charged in Delaware with plotting the real-life abduction of a boyfriend she met through the Web site “Second Life.”

In Tokyo, a 16-year-old boy was charged with stealing the ID and password from a fellow player of an online game in order to swindle virtual currency worth $360,000.

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