For one unwitting young man, a game of Pokémon GO turned into Grand Theft Auto GO.

Back in late July when Pokémon GO finally hit the virtual shores of Japan, the atmosphere was truly festive. The streets were full of parents and kids, groups of students, and curious businessmen on their way home all with one goal: to get balls and throw them at little monsters.

It was then that an unnamed 23-year-old white-collar employee, to whom we’ll assign the pseudonym “Chancey,” was hanging out in a small park in Tokyo’s Katsushika Ward in the middle of the night, gripped in Pokémon fever.

It was also then that another man, whom we’ll name “Ekans,” called out from another side of the park. The 26-year-old Ekans was also out catching Pidgeys back when it was still fun and exciting to do so.

▼ “Whoa, check it out! CP350!”

Like many strangers had in those fleeting days of Pokéuphoria, the two struck up a conversation and got to know one another. However, during the chat Ekans revealed that he was the leader of a group within to the Yamaguchi-gumi criminal organization.

With this new intimidating piece of information, Ekans began “asking” Chancey to do certain favors, one of which involved driving a car for him. Chancey agreed and what happened after wasn’t reported, but we’re sure it was awkward.

About a week later, Chancey ran into Ekans again. However, there was no good-natured whining about the buggy tracking system to be had on that day. The angry Ekans confronted Chancey claiming that he had scratched the windshield of his car while using it on that fateful night, and demanded Chancey pay him 150,000 yen (184,322 Pokécoins, or US$1,460) for the repairs.

Chancey went to the Tokyo Metro Police who eventually arrested Ekans on 26 October. He reportedly confessed to the crime, but according to the police announcement he was no longer the leader of his Yakuza group. Perhaps he was usurped by another member who could get a Dragonite more quickly than him.

And so, it looks like this case of Pokéxtortion has come to a close, but the lesson here is not to talk to strangers in a park in the middle of the night. Sure it seems obvious now, but you never know when the next smartphone game craze will come by and make you forget that pearl of wisdom.

Source: Asahi Shimbun, NHK
Images: RocketNews24 (screen captures from Pokémon GO)