Police in Mizuho Ward, Nagoya are searching for two men in connection with a robbery/assault that took place on 16 June. The victim, a woman in her 30s, allowed the robbers into her home because she had been expecting a visit from a man she meet on the popular text messaging service LINE.

LINE was created in 2011 after the Tohoku earthquake as a way for people to contact one another over the internet during times of emergency. It became wildly popular in Japan and is often the communication method of choice for smartphone users in the country. In addition to sending text and images to “friends” on a user’s list, free voice and video chats are also available.

Sometimes users may be contacted by other unknown people or companies for purposes such as advertising. In the case of the victim, she had met a man using the application and got to know him solely through LINE.

On the day of the incident at around 3:00am, she received a message along the lines of, “Can I come to you home and visit today?” The woman agreed and said that she would open the door. At approximately 4:20am her doorbell rang.

However, two men were waiting outside. They forced their way in and began demanding money. The woman refused, which led them to start punching her in the head and face. Ultimately she offered them 70,000 yen (US$686) which they took and fled.

The two men were described as in their 20. One of them was thin and around 175 cm (5’9″) tall, while the other was of muscular build and 160cm (5’3″). A police investigation is underway.

Mizuho Police are saying that the man the victim had been in contact with on LINE is a prime suspect and are looking into his identity. It goes without saying that when talking to people online you should always be cautious of personal information like your address.

Source: Asahi Shimbun (Japanese)