• Kyodo News

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Police responded to a record 2,444 Internet crime cases nationwide in the first half of this year, a National Police Agency survey showed Thursday.

The number, up 586, or 31.5 percent, from a year earlier, represented a new high since the NPA started gathering statistics for Internet crimes, defined as crimes that use a computer network, on a half-year basis in 2004.

The number of fraud cases, including swindling money from a successful bidder by posting false information in an online auction, climbed 22.8 percent, to 867 cases.

The number of child pornography cases jumped 69.6 percent, to 329, a record high for any January-June period, while child prostitution cases increased 21.8 percent, to 212.

The number of child porn cases using the Internet accounted for more than half the total cases involving production and distribution of child pornography during the reporting period, according to the NPA.

The agency attributed the increase in the number of fraud cases partly to increased efforts by police.

The number of copyright infringement cases, including illegal distribution of videos using file-sharing software, came to 56, compared with none in the first half of 2009 and 75 in the second half of last year.

On the other hand, the number of unauthorized computer access cases, such as bidding in an online auction by using a false identity, plunged to 85 from 1,965 in the corresponding period of 2009.

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