Magazine botches suspect photo

Wrong boy pictured in 54 million yen extortion case article

Kyodo

The latest edition of a weekly magazine is carrying an incorrect photo of a boy listed as one of the offenders implicated in a 54 million yen extortion case by former junior high school students, it was learned Saturday.

The erroneous picture appears in the May 2 issue of Josei Jishin, a weekly magazine published by Kobunsha that went on sale Tuesday.

The figure is identified as “the offender boy A” in an article that covers acts of extortion carried out against a 15-year-old boy by the former students in Nagoya. The eyes of the boy were covered with black lines.

The alleged extortion began in June after the 15-year-old boy’s classmates started demanding money from him. Large amounts of cash were extorted in more than 80 occasions, sources close to the case said.

The cash was supplied by the mother, some from the family savings and 30 million yen in insurance paid after the boy’s father died, they said.

Police have admitted to failing to grasp the seriousness of the boy’s plight when he and his mother reported the situation to them in July.

As of Saturday, five former junior high school students have been arrested on suspicion of extortion, according to police.

Kobunsha said it will publish an apology in the next edition of Josei Jishin, which goes on sale next Tuesday.

“We learned of our mistake through our further investigation of the case. We sincerely apologize to the families of the boy whose picture was mistakenly published,” said Mashio Takeda, chief editor of the magazine.

14-year-old arrested

NAGOYA (Kyodo) A 14-year-old boy was arrested Saturday for allegedly attempting to extort money from a local shop clerk on a street in Toyohashi, police said.

The boy, a student at the city’s junior high school, allegedly threatened the 24-year-old female clerk with a knife and demanded money around 2 a.m. Saturday.

When the clerk screamed for help, however, the boy fled the scene empty-handed, they said. The shop clerk, who was on her way home from work, was unharmed.

Police officers found and arrested the boy on a street some 150 meters away from the scene a short time later.

The boy, who has admitted to the incident, was quoted as telling the police that he “wanted money.”