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Teens use smartphone app LINE to extort man in Toyama

Teens used Line
Teens used Line to blackmail a man, 21, in Toyama Prefecture (TV Asahi)
TOKYO (TR) – Toyama Prefectural Police on Sunday arrested four students for involvement in a scam to blackmail a 21-year-old man met via the smartphone application LINE, reports the Yomiuri Shimbun (Apr. 7).

Officers from the Toyama Central Police Station in Toyama City took the four youths, two boys and two girls, aged between 14 and 16, into custody on charges of blackmail after the victim was allegedly assaulted and robbed of 60,000 yen at a local park.

With LINE, a user ID is assigned to the phone number of each smartphone that downloads the app. Such an ID can then be used to post messages on the bulletin boards, which could then result in communication with unknown persons.

The girls allegedly used the app to lure the man to the park. Upon his arrival, the group demanded cash and hit him in the face.

According to officers, the group admitted to having committed the scam approximately 10 times previously.