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 Chinese gamer sentenced to life

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Date posted: 09/06/2005

On the first of April, we reported on the first case of physical murder through virtual theft in which, a Shanghai player Qiu Chengwei fatally stabbed player Zhu Caoyuan, after Caoyuan sold a virtual sword called a dragon sabre shortly after Chengwei lent it to him.

Zhu Caoyuan pocketed 7,200 Yuan or ?473 from the sale of the virtual item, but later received a dagger in the chest from the sword?s owner who was just a little incensed Now, in an update to the case, Qui Chengwei has been given a suspended death sentence for killing his fellow player.

Attempts to take the dispute to the police failed because there is currently no law in China to protect virtual property ? so as far as the law is concerned, the assault which ended in murder was completely unprovoked ? despite the obvious monetary value of the item..

According to the Chinese press, more and more players are seeking justice through the courts over stolen weapons and credits accumulated in-world.

In this case, Mr Zhu did offer to hand over the cash but Mr Qui lost patience and stabbed him with "great force" according to media reports.

The suspended sentence given to Qui means he could spend the rest of his life behind bars, although it could be reduced to 15 years for good behaviour.

The parents of the dead man are planning to appeal against the sentence.

"My son was only 26 when he died. He was sleeping when Qiu broke into his home. He was barely able to put his pants on before Qiu stabbed him," said his father, Zhu Huimin.

"We want Qui to die, and immediately," he added.

The case has led to a debate about where the law stands on virtual property, such as the dragon sabre owned by Qiu.

Following the case, associate law professor at Beijing's Renmin University of China said that such weapons should be deemed as private property because players "have to spend time and money for them".

But a lawyer for one Shanghai-based internet game company told a Chinese newspaper that the weapons were in fact just data created by the providers and therefore not the property of players.

See the full Story via external site: news.bbc.co.uk

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