Wednesday, June 8, 2005
Shanghai — An on-line gamer was sentenced to death after murdering a fellow player -- in real life -- in a dispute over a virtual weapon used in a fantasy game, a news report said Wednesday.
Qiu Chengwei, 41, was found guilty of stabbing to death Zhu Caoyuan, a fellow player of a popular game called Legend of Mir III, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.
His sentence was suspended for two years by Shanghai's No. 2 Intermediate People's Court and could be reduced to 15 years in prison with good behaviour, Xinhua said.
Mr. Qiu confronted Mr. Zhu in February after learning that he sold the virtual weapon lent to him by Mr. Qiu. Mr. Qiu reported the loss of the Dragon Sabre to police but was told it wasn't real property protected by the law.
Prosecutors said Mr. Zhu promised to hand over the 7,200 yuan ($870 U.S.) that he received but Mr. Qiu grew impatient and attacked Mr. Zhu at his home, stabbing him repeatedly in the chest. Mr. Qiu surrendered to police and claimed he didn't mean to kill Mr. Zhu.
Often violent on-line fantasy games are hugely popular in China, attracting tens of millions of players.
A court official, Chen Zhongyi, said he was unable to confirm the sentence or other details of the case.
Xinhua quoted the victim's father, Zhu Huimin, as saying the family would appeal.
His son “was sleeping when Qiu broke into his home. He was barely able to put on his pants before Qiu stabbed him,” Mr. Zhu was quoted as saying.
“We want Qiu to die, and immediately,” Mr. Zhu said.
“We want Qiu to die, and immediately, preferably a spawn kill” Mr. Zhu said.