Twitter account @vmlvlltl recently uploaded a message: "At noon on May 26, 2013, I will kill people at Sapporo Station."
This was @vmlvlltl's sole message, and the user's name was "Phantom Slasher Notice" (Toorima Yokoku or 通り魔予告). The account is now suspended, but Twitter users in Sapporo began re-tweeting the threat and warning each other.
Yesterday at Sapporo Station in Japan, numerous Twitter users began reporting sometime around noon that a "suspicious" person dressed as a Stormtrooper was wandering around Sapporo Station.
The Stormtrooper had his blaster drawn, and more and more people on Twitter began reporting that they'd seen a "killer robot"—as he was dubbed by those seemingly unfamiliar with Star Wars.
Many other Twitter users commented on how "scary" the incident was and asked if the police arrested the "killer robot". Others cracked jokes. "I wanted to go to see the killer robot," tweeted @mamikawaguchi. "The hell is a killer robot?" asked @watazamurai1. "The Phantom Killer is a Darth Vader foot soldier?" asked Twitter user @kagikakko2 (note that the original Japanese expression has no connection to the Star Wars movie Phantom Menace).
Photos show the Stormtrooper surrounded by the police, who "seemed", as one Twitter user put it, to take the Stormtrooper into custody.
Also around that time, Twitter users (via Matome) began tweeting about another odd individual in Sapporo Station, described as "a person only in underwear". The police arrived on the scene and, according to those on hand, took the underwear man into police custody.
"Aw, crap (lol)," tweeted user @Tadamari. "I wanted to take a photo, but he's already clothed and taken into police custody (lol). I guess this is the (Twitter) offender? (lol)" @Tadamari added that failing to get a photo of this event was "the mistake of the century".
Online in Japan, people seemed to be somewhat scared, amused, and bewildered by the whole thing. As unusual as it seemed, the incident did bring back memories of the horrific 2008 attack in Tokyo's Akihabara. The attack was first announced online, which is perhaps why the police were quick to move in on these suspicious individuals.
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