Japanese Pokémon hacker arrested after selling Sobble

Jessica Scharnagle • February 6, 01:49

Japan outlawed hacking video games back in 2018 and one Pokémon hacker is now feeling the consequences when he was arrested following the sale of hacked Pokémon. 

A 23-year-old Japanese man was arrested for allegedly selling a hacked Sobble, which was sold for 4400 yen (about $41 USD). The man also is said to have made almost 1.1 million yen (about $10,000 USD) total from selling hacked Pokemon. The unemployed man has allegedly sold thousands of the hacked pocket monsters, which raised the attention of the authorities. According to the press conference the district of Aichi police gave after the arrest, the suspect confessed to the crimes. 

Japanese Pokémon hacker arrested, his computer confiscated

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The Japanese police posted a photo of the computer that was used to modify the hacked Pokemon. Police say that he modified the Pokémon with a personal computer and sent the data to a man to pay 4400 yen. The Switch has a function that prevents data from being illegally rewritten, but the suspect admitted he bypassed that function.

All of the Pokémon the man is accused of hacking came from the most recent main-series Pokémon game, Sword and Sheild. The man is said to have hacked thousands of Pokémon between the game’s release date is November 2019 and November 2020. 

Pokémon hacker faces up to five years in prison, according to Japan’s laws

According to the official website for Japan’s Association of Copyright for Computer Software, Japanese citizens found modding games and consoles have violated the country’s Unfair Competition Prevention Law. Violations are punishable by up to five years in prison and fines as high as 5 million yen ($47,440 USD). 

In Japan, modifying a game is enough to break the laws. It is unlawful to mod game data or game consoles in Japan, which is a stark contrast to other countries, which sees games that encourage mods such as the Elder Scrolls franchise and Minecraft. 

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