Pirate manga pirates promptly pinched by prefectural police.

Manga mega-hit One Piece follows the adventures of protagonist Luffy and his crew of comrades as they sail the seas searching for treasure and staying one step ahead of the authorities. Maybe this group of five men should have taken notes on that last part, since they were recently arrested by the anti-cybercrime division of the Kyoto prefectural police.

One Piece runs in publisher Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump, and every week new editions of the manga anthology have to be printed and shipped to distributors. As such, the magazines pass through a few people’s hands before they hit newsstands, and one such individual is 69-year-old Takehisa Hidaka, who lives in the city of Yashioshi in Saitama Prefecture and works for a shipping company.

In late October, Hidaka’s company received a shipment of copies of this year’s Volume 49 of Weekly Shonen Jump, which had an on-sale date of November 2. The company was then supposed to distribute these to other delivery companies, but police claim that Hidaka pilfered one copy and passed it off to a group of four unnamed Chinese men living in Japan.

Included in the issue was the 805th chapter of One Piece, and on October 29th, still four days ahead of when the issue was supposed to become available to the public, the chapter, with its text translated into English, was uploaded to mangapanda, a site that hosts unauthorized uploads of Japanese comics. Roughly two weeks later, on November 13, the police made their move and arrested Hidaka, along with the Chinese nationals, on charges of violating copyright law.

Hidaka has denied any part in copyright infringement, asserting “All I did was give them the magazine.” The police have not issued a statement regarding whether or not they believe any sort of monetary gain was a motivating factor in the alleged crimes.

Luffy himself has yet to comment on the matter, likely due to the difficult position he occupies as both aspiring king of the pirates and an anti-manga piracy spokescharacter.

Sources: Otapol, Yahoo! News Japan/Toji Tsushin