crime

Shiga police arrest youth who posted prank YouTube videos

46 Comments

A 19-year-old youth who uploaded a series of prank videos on YouTube, including one on Jan 11 in which he inserted a toothpick into a snack food in a supermarket, was arrested in Shiga Prefecture on Sunday morning.

Police in Maibara, acting on a wanted bulletin issued by the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department, arrested the youth on a Tokaido line train that had arrived from Nagoya at JR Maibara Station at around 7:30 a.m., NTV reported. He was transported to Tokyo on Sunday afternoon.

The youth was placed on a nationwide wanted list on Friday. He is suspected of entering supermarkets where he inserted toothpicks and other foreign objects into snack foods, as well as having engaged in shoplifting -- acts which he had filmed and posted on YouTube.

Police quoted the suspect as saying that he admitted committing the acts, saying his intention had been to "encourage revision of the juvenile act," NTV reported. In one of his YouTube videos, he had boasted that because he was a minor, the police wouldn’t be able to do anything to him.

Police were able to identify the youth after examining a Jan 5 video shot at a convenience store in Musashino, Tokyo, in which he took a bottle of iced tea, drank from it and left the store without paying for it. Then on Jan 14, he posted a "Declaration of Evasion," and subsequently posted additional provocative contents, declaring the police to be "incompetent."

The case came to light after a video was uploaded to YouTube on Jan 11, in which someone is seen stabbing a toothpick into the package of a snack food at a supermarket in Chofu, Tokyo. The video begins with the man’s voice saying “Are you all well? This is ‘prank at the supermarket’ round 2!” He then takes a toothpick and walks up to a display filled with dry goods and snacks. He uses the toothpick to pierce the top of one of the packages, pushes it in and then exits the store without purchasing anything.

That video received more than 500,000 views in three days.

Police investigators determined the videos showing toothpicks being thrust into the food appeared to be acts by the same person, and focused on a youth who had been arrested two years ago for threatening online to commit random murders at Shinjuku Station in Tokyo and JR Hakata Station in Fukuoka.

Police said he will be charged with the crime of forcible obstruction of business.

© Japan Today

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

46 Comments
Login to comment

Excellent

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Now Shiga Police should upload "arrest" videos on YouTube and score some points (!)

16 ( +16 / -0 )

Confused rebellious youth! Teach him a lesson to not direct his anger at innocent citizens!

10 ( +10 / -0 )

I wonder what his YouTube payout will be?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

So I hope he will be assessed by mental health professionals and receive the counselling or other mental help he obviously needs. Threatening to randomly murder people then doing these weirdo acts he sure has a couple of loose screws that need tightening.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

I agree that the juvenile act needs serious revision, to prevent guys like this from getting away with crime, and not allowing the media publish his name and face.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

He made himself an instant Net star. And, as far as I know, he is the first to do what he did. Wonder how long it will be able to continue to shine ...

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Jeez! Its not as if he murdered someone. Don't police have other things to do. . . . like arresting real criminal committing real crime?

-26 ( +5 / -30 )

The juvenile act was reformed a number of years ago. This "kid" could very well be charged as an adult and face prison time in an adult facility. Not to mention the fact that chances are he and or his family could be faced with paying resitution as well.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Please note this is a real and very serious crime.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I don't know if this is true or not, but apparently there is some news that he really didn't steal anything at all, and that he had previously purchased all of the items that he allegedly shoplifted, and only made it look like he stole them for the camera. If this is true, he really made the police look like a bunch of clowns. I am curious to see how this plays out.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

Mirai.

Doesn't matter as he wasn't arrested for shoplifting you have to be caught in the act for that.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Wc626Jan. 18, 2015 - 05:10PM JST Jeez! Its not as if he murdered someone. Don't police have other things to do. . . . like arresting real criminal committing real crime?

My gut reaction to your post was the same as the moderator, then I sat back and thought about it for a little while.

I mean what precisely did this kid do?

Did they find the toothpick in the bag of snacks? Was anyone hurt? Without proof of the crime and a victim there really isn't a crime. If the police want to arrest someone for vandalism they'd need to show the damage.

The same logic applies to the bottle of tea.

I don't like this kid. I think he's inciting others to do horrible things. But I'm not sure precisely what the police could charge him with.

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

@Mirai

Doesn't make the police look like clowns at all, they analysized the surveillance videos and figured out that he faked shoplifting. That's good investigation as far as I'm concerned. They also found and arrested him quickly, even though he taunted them as being too stupid to do so. He's the stupid clown and can still be charged with entering a place of business for illegitimate/inappropriate reasons, etc. He can eat crow now and enjoy his time i side without Internet access. If he truly wanted to effect changes in the law there's plenty of other ways he could have gone about it.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Last line of the article above.

Police said he will be charged with the crime of forcible obstruction of business.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Frungy: "My gut reaction to your post was the same as the moderator, then I sat back and thought about it for a little while."

Some of you guys also seem to forget this is not the first act of vandalism and theft he was committed before, and he has also posted videos on YouTube literally saying he would murder someone outside a train station (Fukuoka).

My problem with this is that he is being charged with so little. On top of murder threats, obstruction of business, theft, destruction of property, and more he has cost the taxpayers HEAPS of money in a nation-wide man-hunt. Lock him up.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Wc626

Someone could choke on one of those toothpicks and then it WOULD be murder! Practical jokes can have serious consequences.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

@smithinjapan "My problem with this is that he is being charged with so little. "

It's early days yet, don't give up hope! I wouldn't be surprised if they add more charges as the questioning/investigation progresses. For the time being I'm just happy they caught him so quickly. I would be happy to be proved wrong, but frankly don't see much hope for him to reform into a person contributing something worthwhile to society.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Indeed juvenile act should be revised ...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Nobody can know the whole story simply by reading an article. Do the police have these packages with toothpicks in them for evidence? We don't know if it was staged or not. He could have easily purchased said items after filming the video.

And yes, they do need to make laws for a juvenile justice system. Not that I agree with the way this individual is trying to get his message across...

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Wouldn't surprise me one bit if someone like this kid was responsible for the "tooth" a Mac too.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The next appropriate and intelligent order of business should be to interview him and his family THOROUGHLY for a profile to further teaching about how NOT to raise a kid. Some error has been made, and possibly there is some other deviant social theme in society encouraging this, that must be dealt with.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Still don't understand how they nabbed him without publicising his name.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Well so much for this Generation NH (no hope) youngster vs the law. Reminds me of a "I fought the law and law won", but at least he won't be out in the cold and without food in his stomach, rice and mizo soup goes along way when homeless and hungry.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Police are always concerned over copycat crimes. Young, impressionable airheads might see it as behavior worthy of emulation, and losses by stores could run into the millions of yen. Better nip it in the bud, by showing the offender being decapitated on YouTube. (Just kidding -- but a Singapore-style caning might hasten his reform).

2 ( +2 / -0 )

declaring the police to be “incompetent.”well they are not that incompetent because they nicked you!! dumb ass!!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Let me get this straight. If he'd murdered someone, would his name and face still be kept a secret? The public have a right to know who to look out for in these cases. If really puzzles me how a 19-year old can get off lightly because they're a 'minor' while a 16-year old is old enough to marry.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@ HongoTAFEinmate "Still don't understand how they nabbed him without publicising his name."

Wasn't released to the public because he's a minor, but since he was on the national wanted list police all over had his photograph and name.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This is a proactive movement on the police account. For those of you that believes that no serious act was performed, would you like to hear of a death by this prankster first? If that would had happen, I do believe that you would also be the first ones to say why didn't the police arrest earlier when they had prior knowledge of his actions.I am hoping that the police have more info about him and kept alot of their info in house. This is the way it should be.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

smithinjapanJan. 18, 2015 - 06:38PM JST Frungy: "My gut reaction to your post was the same as the moderator, then I sat back and thought about it for a little while."

Some of you guys also seem to forget this is not the first act of vandalism and theft he was committed before, and he has also posted videos on YouTube literally saying he would murder someone outside a train station (Fukuoka).

And you seem to be forgetting that accusation is not the same as proof. A mass of accusations does not make for proof of criminality it just means there are a lot of accusations.

I think my comment was legitimate. What can the police PROVE he did?

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I understand that this is a problem, but I think this news has become way out of hand. It's just some silly kid doing stupid things, noticing that he has a lot of followers on YouTube and then playing that to his advantage, only boosting his ego further. This sort of thing happens everyday, the police should focus on more serious problems.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Great. He needs to suffer maximum consequences of being such a disgraceful juvenile.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

He should be banned from posting any videos on YouTube.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

First off, I apologize for not having the link!! I detest saying something without being able to prove it. So, if anyone can find it again and post it, but I found an article (on 24 rocket, gaijin pot or some other nipponphile site) that is saying he had gone back and purchased the vandalized, opened packages. If anyone can find it before I do, please post.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I am glad the cops got him so that the Media can finally take this individual off the Top Story on News Television.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Frungy: Did they find the toothpick in the bag of snacks? Was anyone hurt? Without proof of the crime and a victim there really isn't a crime. If the police want to arrest someone for vandalism they'd need to show the damage.

Putting dangerous foreign objects into food chain is attempted battery against everyone the perpetrator expects to purchase the product. Look at the guys who put pesticide into frozen dumplings (or whatever) in Japan or exported to Japan. 'Assault' on thousands to millions of customers, 'battery' on the customers who actually consumed the products.

Suppose someone died from this guy's actions but no one made the connection? He put the video up himself, how can he claim no harm?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

In one of his YouTube videos, he had boasted that because he was a minor, the police wouldn’t be able to do anything to him.

The juvenile laws need to be reformed and the age of a minor needs to be lowered.

By the end of my JHS years, I was very well aware of how light my punishment would be if I were to commit certain crimes.

The age of 20 is ridiculously high for the minor bar to be set.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The store had to pull every related article off the shelves, and they lost customer trust.

A couple of days after he posted his clips, a needle was inserted into a piece of chicken on sale in Chiba.

There was a famous case in Korea I believe where pigs being fed restaurant scraps were choking to death on toothpicks left by the customers in their left-overs.

He is being charged with obstruction of legitimate business, but what is the maximum sentence for that?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Good. Product tampering has killed people all over the world and is not something to be taken lightly.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

But can the police prove he didn't then buy the product? That's the point I'm making. Accusation is not enough. There has to be proof.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Frungy, he has not been accused of product tampering.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@ Frungy at Jan. 19, 2015 - 12:28PM JST "But can the police prove he didn't then buy the product? That's the point I'm making. Accusation is not enough. There has to be proof."

You want the results of his trial before it's been held? Anyway, even if he bought a product after tampering with it that's still unacceptable as until an item has been paid for it is not ones to do with as one pleases. Sure, something like a beverage being opened by a parent to quiet a crying child, followed by apologies and payment at the cash register might be overlooked by a supermarket. (Not that I recommend it though.) But filming it and putting it on the Internet for all to see (whether it's giving a correct or incorrect impression of what actually transpired) puts it in a whole other place. Not to mention the supermarkets I shop at all have No Photography signs posted and I doubt if he obtained prior permission for filming.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Thankfully this menace could be taken off the streets fairly quickly, unlike my former place of residence the UK where hooligans are allowed to run rampant without any fear of chastisement.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Police, psychology, etc. aside for now.

This is a major wake-up call for not only the stores that lack proper "security" and "safety" protocols, but the entire Japanese nation. The entire world is facing terrorism and I have not seen any warnings directed at the population that "prepares" them for a terrorist attack in our host country as they do for earthquakes and tsunamis.

Imagine if it was that easy for a slightly demented youth to be able to do what he did for over two weeks. It is blatant evidence that the Japanese people are TOTALLY disengaged with what is happening not only internationally but within a few feet of themselves.

From total ignorance of each other on trains, buses and everywhere else until faced with a problem for themselves, the so called "politeness" in Japanese society is like "political correctness" in Europe and the USA that is destroying those countries. It appears that most Japanese out within the community and not within their own homes or close environment only know how to "point fingers" at those that inconvenience or hurt themselves, and complain, but very often not enough to care for others.

I hope more people will take notice, get involved and take action to prevent more of these incidents. They cannot rely on the police, the self-defense forces or even private security personnel at businesses. No matter how good the surveillance, they can only react. They need active involvement by businesses and citizens to prevent and protect.

Is that not so?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I understand that this is a problem, but I think this news has become way out of hand. It's just some silly kid doing stupid things, noticing that he has a lot of followers on YouTube and then playing that to his advantage, only boosting his ego further. This sort of thing happens everyday, the police should focus on more serious problems.

I agree 100%. Just goes to show the lack of news this country has compared to the countries we grew up in. I have found insects among other things in food and packages in the U.S. and none of those experiences made front page news. It is the kind of thing that appears on strange news websites not in every main newspaper/news broadcast in the country.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Take these hooligans to places where they make little rocks from big ones.

Toothpicks in food , hacking, theft. Let them learn early that there is a price to pay. Maybe crime will decrease once they see it is more than slap on hand.

Also a good health step if you have the exercise of swinging heavy hammers on smaller rocks.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites