back to article Japanese schoolkids arrested in £2.4 MEEELLION phone fraud bust

Three Japanese high school students have been arrested on suspicion of running a telephone fraud ring which may have netted them as much as ¥408 million (£2.4m). The 17-year-olds are thought to have carried out a string of crimes known in Japan as Ore ore (“It’s me”) fraud. Typically targeting the elderly, the fraudster will …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the third one will be getting off then.

    1. james 68

      doubt it

      japanese police and their law in general is not only extraordinarily harsh (hence the low crime rates) but extremely expensive for anyone considered a suspect.

      its a lot like legal extortion, you pay for everything, even access to your lawyer, phone calls to/from family etc, but no matter how much you pay it wont effect the outcome of your case. even your own lawyer will be in on it, cant pay extra? too bad you get a real estate lawyer instead of a criminal defender, and the whole time your own lawyer will be trying to make you confess anyway.

      its often better for innocent people to claim guilt than fight a charge.

      if anything by denying involvement the third guys family will end up financially broken and he will get the longest sentence.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Not so, for the most part as long as you don't admit to anything and refuse to sign anything the police write for you they give up.

        People tend to claim guilt as a way of mitigating shame that the police threaten to lay upon them and their family.

      2. David Webb

        As the kids are 17, they will probably just get a slap on the wrist unless the beak sends them to be tried as adults instead of minors.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kobe_child_murders for instance, a minor did a pretty horrific act which in the UK would have got him (even as a minor) locked up for a very long time (possibly for life), in Japan he was out again in 7 years.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "a minor did a pretty horrific act which in the UK would have got him (even as a minor) locked up for a very long time (possibly for life), in Japan he was out again in 7 years."

          Yeah? How long did the Bulger killers serve? Sounds very similar to me.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Not sure how you got a down vote, 8 years is pretty close to 7 years for murder.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I know this might be a little inappropriate.....

    The Japanese do all look the same to me, but it appears they must all sound the same too.

    I'd know if it was one of my lot on the phone.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re: I'd know if it was one of my lot on the phone.

      Yeah easy peasy - they'd be asking me for money to get them out of some sort of trouble they'd gotten into.

      Calls for some other purpose - definitely not the fruit of my loins....

    2. bluesxman

      RE: "I know this might be a little inappropriate....."

      You might as well have gone the whole hog and wrapped your comment with:

      "I'm not racist, but..."

      and:

      "just sayin'"

      1. Daniel Palmer

        Re: RE: "I know this might be a little inappropriate....."

        >"I'm not racist, but..."

        You can't use that line any more. You have to say "I'm not racist, I have tons of <insert race or religious group that is often confused to be a race here> friends, but there are some <previous race> that.."

        I'm pretty sure the previous poster was actually playing on the "they all look the same" thing to get a reaction out of people that are easily offended for others.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "I know this might be a little inappropriate....."

          Fun fact: my wife, who is of Japanese descent, told me that as a teenager she feared being separated from her mother in a crowded place and be unable to locate her, since (in her own words) "Japanese people look all the same".

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "I know this might be a little inappropriate....."

            Well, for some people, idiots look all the same. At least on the interwebs.

      2. Billa Bong

        Re: RE: "I know this might be a little inappropriate....."

        Stoking the fire, I know, but...

        If someone states that "this and that look the same *to me*" (note "to me", try expanding this to "all apples look the same to me" without reference to red vs. green, small vs. large, apples vs. pears), is that racist just because they're referring to all people from that particular genetic line, merely a rather foolish thing to say or a reflection on how ones brain interprets certain visual stimuli?

        If someone states that "it appears they must all sound the same" due to the ease at which people get away with this sort of short-con as reported, is that racist just because of the above statement, or just a statement that people (in general?) don't seem to listen?

        I'm not agreeing with the original comment - I think it was a very foolish thing to say due to being poorly worded. Just saying that there's more to racism than personal observation...

        1. Ben Rose
          Megaphone

          Re: RE: "I know this might be a little inappropriate....."

          I'm wondering how many people in this thread would get a senior job at Mozilla?

    3. SumDood

      "The Japanese do all look the same to me, but it appears they must all sound the same too.

      I'd know if it was one of my lot on the phone."

      Know what? Much-speakee-no-thinkee people all sound the same to me. Must all look the same, too. I'd know if it were one of their lot anywhere.

      1. SumDood

        Clarification.

        My original post:

        >"The Japanese do all look the same to me, but it appears they must all sound the

        > same too.

        >I'd know if it was one of my lot on the phone."

        >

        >Know what? Much-speakee-no-thinkee people all sound the same to me. Must

        >all look the same, too. I'd know if it were one of their lot anywhere.

        was directed towards the AC whom I quoted, not his racist target.

        I think the intended irony might have been lost.

    4. Frankee Llonnygog

      Re: I know this might be a little inappropriate.....

      Funny you should say that.To me, all trolls look the same

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      'They all look the same'

      Congratulations sir. You win the 'twat of the day award'. You must be proud.

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: 'They all look the same'

        It was inappropriate of you to point out something that most people would agree with, especially on here - it seems to be more and more PC every day, where everything you say get's taken in the worst possible way.

        The first time I watched Battle Royale I was occasionally left thinking "didn't that girl get killed a few minutes ago?' - After a dozen watchings I know all their names and could probably pick most of them out of a crowd.

        My wife still can't tell them apart, but then she has professor's deafness. It's a cultural thing.

        For example, if a Japanese person were to say 'all those Western people all look the same to me' - I wouldn't take offense. I wouldn't consider it racist. I would consider it a lack of exposure to a foreign culture.

        When I first started work in a department where international communications were the norm. I had a terrible problem with strong accents, especially when they spoke English at a speed consistent with their native tongue (think Indian/Scottish etc.). These days I have no problem, even over a bad line.

        Why are people not allowed to have an opinion anymore without being labelled as something immutable? Don't you realise that perpetuating this thought mode is leading* us all into mental slavery?

        *I realise that most people are already there.

        Not trolling, not trying to incense or invoke hatred, just expressing an opinion. I have no problem if you don't agree with my opinion, but I will express my right to have one until my dying breath in the New World PC brigade's oubliette.

        Sad icon (for the state of the modern mind) -->

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: 'They all look the same'

          "The first time I watched Battle Royale I was occasionally left thinking "didn't that girl get killed a few minutes ago?' - After a dozen watchings I know all their names and could probably pick most of them out of a crowd."

          Seriously, there is maybe two girls who look similar but on the whole the cast don't look the same. And yes you can be culturally racist, you mind can be programmed so that you generalise when you see a different race, so it may just be your subconcious that is causing the effect.

          However the reason that you wouldn't take offence to "all white people look the same" is because it isn't a common saying that has racist connotations in your home country. If you were part of a small white expat community in Asia and all the locals would keep dismissing you as "just another white person who all look the same" or the security guard let someone else into your apartment "because all white people look the same" despite the person they let in having ginger hair and you being bald then you'd start to feel more than a little aggrieved. It may not be aggressively racist but it would feel like people are being flippant or judging you solely by the colour of your skin. It is dehumanising in a similar way to someone introducing themselves to you are a party and saying they are "in banking" and you just walking away because you "hate bankers". Even though this guy is a great person who organises relief funds for the third world.

          Your next argument will be that calling someone a 'Paki' if they are from Pakistani descent (or even Indian) is just the same as calling a British person a 'Brit' - "just an abbreviation innit, I don't care so why should they". You can take out an underling tone or insinuation from a comment.

          Anyway, the original comment was "The Japanese do all look the same to me".

          If that isn't a racial generalisation then what is? There are 130 million people in Japan but the OP thinks they all look the same.

          I can guarantee if you took a random selection of ten Japanese people and sat them down in front of the OP and asked "do these people all look the same" he would have to agree that they don't and that his remark was just a flippant generalisation.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: 'They all look the same'

          Sheesh. The universe is complicated, so humans love to generalise, 'pigeon hole' if you will. To say that 'they all look the same' is, to me at least, an unpleasant example of this. You remove the individuality of each person, and pop them into a homogenised pot of 'them'. As opposed of course to 'us' who are all individuals who look different to each other. 'They all look the same' can be explained by somthing called the 'cross race effect'. Really interestingly, some studies claim that if you tell people in advance that this effect exists, then they perform much better at recognising faces that are not from their own ethnic group. I'd say it's simply opening your mind, and recognising the people are people, whatever group they are from. That might be too 'new world PC' for you. Apologies, but can I please welcome you to century 21.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 'They all look the same'

        Well having once been (disasterously) married to a Japanese girl, I know that the Japanese are probably among the most belligerantly racist (to other Asian nations). As for me, I was just another cheese-smelling Gaijin.

        Of course there are racial traits in all nations (facial features, stature, even gait) - until you become accustomed to them - the majority of people (from that nation) do tend to look alike. By and large, cultural differences aside, I've found that at their core, people the world over are exactly the same, I know dickheads and have great pals from every cultural background. Yes, the world would be a better place without racist-forum-trolls, it would also be better without overly-compensating-for-their-closet-racism-with-a-veneer-of-political-correctness-trolls too. PC does nothing to advance acceptance, but it sure builds some big walls.

    6. Fibbles

      Looks like the PC brigade is out in force today.

      "The Japanese do all look the same" <- Racism

      "The Japanese do all look the same to me" <- Cross-race effect

      Learn the difference.

      1. Spleen

        It's not remotely true anyway. Some Japanese people look like Keanu Reeves, the rest look like Tom Cruise.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Racism my arse

        Not the same AC that thoughtfully pointed out his comment "might be a little inappropriate", but I gather he was referring, as Mr/Ms Fibbles mentions above, to what psychologists call "own-race bias¹". In a nutshell, for the "normal" person, it is easier to discriminate between faces of individuals with whom he shares common ethnic features than individuals from other groups.

        If you are going to tell me this is not the case with you, and unless one or more of various caveats apply (e.g., regular contact with different ethnic groups), I'll call you a liar.

        He was clearly making a humorous, perhaps slightly self-deprecating comment along the lines of "because they all look the same to me, perhaps they all look the same to themselves too".

        It takes a perceptive person to be able to laugh at one's own biases and limitations.

        ¹ http://psycnet.apa.org/doi/10.1037/1076-8971.7.1.3

  3. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    Interesting...

    This type of fraud is quite popular in Bulgaria and Romania. There it is a highly organized business - people trawl the net as well as stolen social security databases for data, prepare themselves and do it properly.

    I am surprised to see this working in Japan - extended family bonds tend to be weaker in established industrialized societies.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Interesting...

      Going by the stereotype here, but maybe it's the whole 'honour' thing that's quite prevailent in japan. As an example the guy who got 'some girl' knocked up (as the scam) over here it's "you bloody idiot, deal with it yourself" over in japan, I could quite easily see people in certain professions wanting to pay them off to be quiet about it.

      And generally it's the older generation who cares most about image. A friend went over to teach english as a foreign language and he said how different the culture is there, how teachers had to be a piller of the community etc.

      1. Frankee Llonnygog

        Re: Interesting...

        Thank you for sharing those cultural insights. How could we ever hope to understand Japanese culture without the knowledge vouchsafed to us by a bloke that knows another bloke.

      2. Daniel Palmer

        Re: Interesting...

        >english as a foreign language and he said how different the culture

        >is there, how teachers had to be a piller of the community etc.

        Eikaiwa workers and ALTs pillars of the community. Probably the funniest thing I've seen all day.

    2. MassiveBob

      Re: Interesting...

      Japan has the highest ratio of elderly population in the world (more than 20% are 65 or over).

      When you get old, your hearing starts to go and it becomes more and more difficult to recognise people's voices, especially over the phone. This is probably more of a factor than the victim being on the verge of dementia.

      According to an OECD survey, Japan is one of the loneliest countries in the world with the highest percentage of people having little or no contact with others (http://www.oecd.org/std/37964677.pdf).

      So when you make a random phone call in Japan, there's a big chance the person picking up the call is elderly. The person might not have spoken to anyone for a while and is probably happy to talk to the "relative". Once the person is tricked, there isn't anyone around who might suspect it's a fraud and stop him/her from completing the transaction.

  4. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Low Crime Rate vs. Ore ore Success Rate

    Maybe the two go hand in hand. People don't think "crime" since it's rate is so low. They just trust the caller.

  5. Moosh

    You have to be pretty stupid to fall for this, unless you're ringing up 80 year old people on the verge of dementia.

    Especially in Japan where the elderly are essentially experiencing the teenage phase of their lives for the 2nd time.

    1. Daniel Palmer

      >Especially in Japan where the elderly are essentially experiencing

      >the teenage phase of their lives for the 2nd time.

      Keep the funnies coming lads.

  6. Peter Simpson 1
    FAIL

    Happened to a coworker

    Unfortunately for the "friend", my coworker is in IT:

    "Hey, it's Joe -- I need some money"

    "Sure, Joe. Just tell me the name of the play we co-starred in in High School"

    "Hey, I really need the money"

    "You know, you're a bad person?"

    "ahhh...."

    // waiting for my chance...

  7. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    "Japan has a low reported crime rate".

    Fixed it for ya.

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