In South Korea, people can report internet defamation to the police. According to Hankook Ilbo, one of the country’s largest newspapers, evil people are using this to their advantage. And apparently, they’re doing it in League of Legends.
South Korean police report that there have been over 8,000 online defamation cases filed in 2014, and this year, there were 8,488 cases filed just through July. “Of all the plaintiffs who visit the Police station to file a cyber defamation case, about half of them happen on League of Legends,” a police spokesperson tells Hankook Ilbo (via tipster Sang).
According to the police, some unscrupulous people are trying to goad others into typing libel statements, which they can then use for blackmail. These individuals are being called “settlement money hunters” (합의금 헌터) in Korean. Hankook Ilbo reports that settlement money hunters play in such a way that it frustrates other players to such a point that they make defamatory comments.
Typically, here’s how it works: The settlement money hunter goes into a League of Legends match, and announces his name and other specifics about himself or herself to make a clear case where the forthcoming internet rage was directed. During the match, the money hunter’s crap play enrages the other player. Heated words are stated, and the settlement money hunter screencaps everything, and then takes it all to the police.
In South Korea, defaming people online can mean up to three years in prison and a fine up to US$20,000. (The punishment is even stricter for spreading rumors about someone.)
After the hunter talks to the police, they begin their investigation and visit the victim, whose only out is to settle with their accuser so they drop the charges. It depends, but maybe the money hunter asks for a settlement or the victim’s family asks to settle. The victims are often teens and their parents and have paid anywhere from US$300 to $2,000 over fears that they’ll end up in trouble with the law. It’s blackmail. A scam.
According to Hankook Ilbo, settlement money hunters are most active between 6pm and 10pm—peak online hours. Apparently, there are blogs with these folks talking about their methods and how much money they’ve made.
New procedures are being instituted to help cut down on this problem. If people are suspected of abusing the system by filing too many complaints, their cases can be turned down. If accusers threaten the accused or ask for unrealistic settlement amounts, they can be arrested.
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