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Role Playing (Games) The Almighty Buck

Student Makes a Million Online, Gets Deported 309

Via Kotaku, a story at the Mainichi daily news about an enterprising exchange student that got himself deported. Wang Yue Si, a Chinese student who went to Japan on a student visa, found himself in need of some spending money. Since he was a gamer, he decided to make some cash by selling virtual items online. He was so successful, the cops noticed. From the article: "He started selling items such as weapons and currency for online games through an Internet auction site in April this year, without obtaining the appropriate residency status. Wang, living in Kumamoto, has admitted that he sold the virtual goods for about 6 million yen ($US 1.3 Million), in violation of the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law. A bank worker became suspicious when Wang regularly sent money back home to China and alerted police in August, prompting Kumamoto police officers to investigate the student."
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Student Makes a Million Online, Gets Deported

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  • 1 Million Dollars? (Score:5, Informative)

    by MoriaOrc ( 822758 ) on Sunday November 26, 2006 @06:34PM (#16995474)
    Summary says "6 million yen or $1.3m" .. but 6m yen is only about 50k dollars (1 yen is slightly less then 1 cent in value) .. so .. which is it?
  • Idiot. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jo7hs2 ( 884069 ) on Sunday November 26, 2006 @06:35PM (#16995476) Homepage
    I'm fairly certain they have immigration lawyers in Japan. Something tells me he was more than aware he couldn't make money while there. Not exactly like Japan is a dictatorship with harsh penalties for bizarre crimes, either. Poor baby.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Japan is a fairly xenophobic society, especially towards other east Asians. No sane lawyer will want to fight this. When it comes to immigrants, Japan is a dictatorship(unless you're white.)
    • Re:Idiot. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bunions ( 970377 ) on Sunday November 26, 2006 @06:57PM (#16995730)
      Idiot? He made $1.3M selling stuff on the internet while still in college. How many millions did -you- make in college?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Goldsmith ( 561202 )
        There's a difference between "making money" and "making money illegally and perhaps getting it all taken away." So yes, he is an idiot.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by TubeSteak ( 669689 )

          There's a difference between "making money" and "making money illegally and perhaps getting it all taken away."

          If you're in college, what would you care?

          Here's a fact: In the business world, there is always a high paying job (or venture capital) for someone who has shown they can make money, even if that person has no ethical barriers to speak of.

          Sometimes it is because the employer thinks they can temper the lack of ethics, other times it is because that is exactly the type of person they wanted to hire. W

        • He kept the money (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Gorimek ( 61128 ) on Sunday November 26, 2006 @10:09PM (#16997216) Homepage
          He didn't get it taken away.

          You can live real well with that kind of money in China, so I don't think he has many regrets.
        • Re:Idiot. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by bunions ( 970377 ) on Sunday November 26, 2006 @10:33PM (#16997360)
          ok, how many millions did you [i]perhaps[/i] make in college?

          The bottom line is he made a buttload of money, the vast majority of which is somewhere in China and therefore likely untouchable. You can call him an 'idiot' all damn day, but it sounds an awful lot like sour grapes from where I sit.
      • by Kalewa ( 561267 )
        None, because I'm not a criminal.
      • by syousef ( 465911 )
        He got lucky. I know of people who make millions on lotto. That doesn't make them smart. Based on the chances they take they're still idiots. Just very lucky idiots. Proof that intelligence is no substitute for good luck.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by badriram ( 699489 )
      Well you can call him what you want, but the law is not exactly easy to understand (well when is it). When I was a student (on visa), I always wondered if it was legal to sell something on ebay, because technically if I made a profit on it, then it could be considered as work. Or what if you buy stock in the stock market and made money on it? There are lot of scenarios esp online where it is not very clear. Of course it is always better to err on the side of caution.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by pla ( 258480 )
      Something tells me he was more than aware he couldn't make money while there.

      Not having a work visa does not equal "can't make money".

      If he owned a business back home that made him money every week, I don't think that would have caused any problems.

      If he negotiated the purchase of his home and car in China, while in Japan, I doubt that would have caused him any trouble either.

      In this situation, since the income came purely from online sources, did he "work" in Japan? Or did he oversee the operatio
    • Japan is strict (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gullevek ( 174152 ) on Sunday November 26, 2006 @08:16PM (#16996390) Homepage Journal
      you have a working visa, you are allowed to work, for the part your visa is allowed. You have a student visa, you study, you don't make $1million. If they catch you, you are out. Plus he might get a 1 or 10 year ban on returning to Japan.

      Seriously, if you care about living in Japan, don't fuck with the officials, they are more Xenophobic than any other country I could imagine.

      [thought I love living in Japan, its always about the people you meet]
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by belmolis ( 702863 )

        Before getting too upset about this, wait and see what happens. They find someone who isn't supposed to be working exporting a large amount of money so they arrest him. That isn't surprising. Maybe they'll deport him. Maybe they'll release him. Maybe they'll make him pay income tax on it. For all we know they'll decide that although exporting all that cash looked suspicious, since he didn't actually have a job in Japan he didn't violate his student status. We haven't seen how this will turn out.

        As for

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by StikyPad ( 445176 )
        They are more Xenophobic than any other country I could imagine.

        Well, especially if you're Chinese, although it's sort of a good idea to avoid even the appearance of wrongdoing if you're a resident alien in any country.
  • by Myself ( 57572 ) on Sunday November 26, 2006 @06:38PM (#16995518) Journal
    Okay, deportation is a new angle, but there always seem to be problems when people sell in-game items. The stories keep coming...

    I'd love to see a broad treatment of law-meets-games-meets-money from someone who actually understands the issues involved. I'm tangentially interested in all those things but I don't really have enough background to put these sorts of things into perspective.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by QuantumG ( 50515 )
      It's really simple, if the TOS say you can sell content out-of-game, then there is no problems. If the TOS say you can't sell content out-of-game then you are a cheating lowlife and should be banned from the game, if not dragged out into the street, forced onto your knees and shot in the mouth.

      The TOS == The rulebook. If you don't wanna play by the rules, don't play.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by iidoru ( 1027828 )
      I think there is not much of an issue - in the end it is all about taxes. If he had payed all the right taxes (which is hard because he is not a resident) - he would not be in any trouble (maybe someone still would point out to him that he is not supposed to do this without proper residence or equivalent), but it probably would not be such a huge issue.
    • Many/most countries with restrictive visas (eg. student/tourist visas) would charge/deport someone for working without suitable work permits. I know people who have been blacklisted from USA (never allowed to even land in transit in USA) for overstaying a visa by one day.
  • by QuantumG ( 50515 )
    do not fuck with gamers in Japan. They make the Koreans look like pussycats.

    Four friends are playing a game of Monopoly. One guest turns to the other guest and offers to sell Park Place for $10 real dollars. You're the host, what would you do? That's right, tell the cheating bastard to go home.

    • by ack154 ( 591432 ) on Sunday November 26, 2006 @06:40PM (#16995556)
      You're the host, what would you do?

      Say "make it $5 and you've got a deal."
      • I'd hold out for the $10.

        In any case, this is perfectly legal in Monopoly, whatever is not forbidden in the rules is allowed (tournaments may differ).

        I have heard of one case where a player about to be bankrupted asked the landlord if he could just pay him with money from his wallet instead of getting eliminated. All the players at the table thought he was a complete idiot, so they laughingly okayed it. He opened his wallet, and pulled out a big wad of... MONOPOLY MONEY.
    • Oh you mean physically hung. Then its an offcolor joke if you look at it that way. I'm talking his name.
    • House Rules (Score:5, Funny)

      by camperdave ( 969942 ) on Sunday November 26, 2006 @07:03PM (#16995786) Journal
      You're the host, what would you do?

      House Rules: The house takes a 50% cut of all real money transactions that affect game play.

      If Chon Wang wants to sell Park Place to Princess Pei Pei for $10, someone's going to have to fork $5 over to me.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Apparently they are claiming he illegally made money in Japan. Since the game was online, he could have made the same money in his home country.

      Think of it this way, if you own a business in one country and that business continues to make money while you are on a tourist or student training visa (a visa that does not authorize you to engage in employment in the country you are visiting) in another .. is that illegal? Of course not. What if you business calls you for some advice while on vacation? Are you al
      • Then what he should have done was not have the money deposited in a Japanese bank account to wire back home. He should have found an online bank in China and used Paypal or whatever escrow service to directly transfer the money that way. Then no bank in Japan would have been suspicious, he would maintain his visa status, and no one would be the wiser.
      • by saikou ( 211301 ) on Sunday November 26, 2006 @09:12PM (#16996792) Homepage
        "Virtual Enterprise" trick will work only if you receive money in the country where it's registered. So if you have a nice little company in Germany that sells virtual stuff in US, you have to bill your customers from Germany, and receive your funds there.
        And if you are in US on tourist visa, you can't keep selling your virtual "German made" stuff on a regular basis, as then you are working in US, and either need to have a local branch or work visa.
        Japan did a normal thing in this case -- you don't have work permit, yet regularly cash in cheques? Goodbye!
        Otherwise anyone could work as a salesman without any visa, claiming that goods were "made in another country".
  • The news article does not mention anything about the student being deported.
  • Well well (Score:5, Interesting)

    by imsabbel ( 611519 ) on Sunday November 26, 2006 @06:46PM (#16995622)
    Seeing how cutthroat the whole gold and itemfarming buisness is, to be able earn $1m+ from sales, he must have been the frontman of aa rather large gang of sweatshop farmers. Which would be perfectly fine as a violation of his status.

    • Re:Well well (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jandrese ( 485 ) <> on Sunday November 26, 2006 @09:50PM (#16997086) Homepage Journal
      That's what I was thinking. Either he hacked the game or he's just fronting for a sweatshop. The market isn't good enough for a single person to make that much real money in most games. There are some occasional opportunities for someone to make that much money legitimately (selling land in Second Life for instance--and that one requires an massive capital investment before it starts to pay off), but they are exceedingly rare.
  • not unexpected (Score:5, Insightful)

    by coaxial ( 28297 ) on Sunday November 26, 2006 @06:46PM (#16995624) Homepage
    Nothing to see here folks. He violated the terms of his visa, and thus got deported. The only thing unusual was his buisness.

    Move along. Move along.
  • by tadd ( 51292 ) <> on Sunday November 26, 2006 @06:47PM (#16995636) Journal
    If you are on a student visa, you're not supposed to be making money by working, you're supposed to be studying. no I know there are ways around this, but with most of them, if you get caught, you go home.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by chanrobi ( 944359 )
      Hell i'll take that deal. Get deported and take home $1.3M? Who cares about school. You won't have to work the rest of your life!
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by archen ( 447353 )
        I agree with you there. I mean why was this guy in school? Probably to get a good job so he can make decent money. He's made enough now that he could stuff it in the bank and make more on interest than I do working. If I could have managed the same thing when I was in school I'd do exactly the same thing.
    • If you are on a student visa, you're not supposed to be making money by working, you're supposed to be studying. no I know there are ways around this, but with most of them, if you get caught, you go home

      Under US law, are you allowed to make money in your home country while studying? Let's say you're German studying in the US. Can you do programming for German clients via the Internet and receive payment in Germany?

      As far as Japanese law, he should have recieved payment for the items outside Japan. H

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by clifyt ( 11768 )
        "Under US law, are you allowed to make money in your home country while studying?"

        Depends...I run a little research area for my university and I hire students all the time.

        Depending on their visa, they may only be able to do work that is solely in support of their the research we do is academic in nature and its for the same university they are attending, they can do this. At the same time, some of the stuff I do for the university that is off-campus -- we do a lot of High School outreach an
    • A Japanese student visa forbids you to work, although I believe you're allowed to have a part-time job outside of the semester (although I could be wrong.) More info here: []

      This guy was basically self-employed, so needed a completely different visa.

      The article is published by the Daily Mainichi, so I wouldn't worry about checking the original Japanes for accuracy.
  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Sunday November 26, 2006 @06:57PM (#16995732) Homepage
    They never cease to amaze me. I don't blame the opportunist quite as much as I blame the addicts.

    Gambling, porn, online gaming... let's add drugs to the list too. It's all a waste of money. Porn is free as far as I'm concerned, gambling is often too risky the way some addicts play, and drugs waste in an obvious way. But paying for "virtual stuff" in a virtual world?! That's a waste of money and time.

    It's not like I don't understand it -- I recall calling in sick to work more than once so I could finish a level of X-Wing versus Tie Fighter... the pay check started to reflect my obsession and I made corrections. I wish other people could learn that lesson.
    • by nuggz ( 69912 )
      So they waste their money on crap, and leave the more efficient to run the economy.
      Welcome to the free market, free and self correction to squeeze out inefficiency.
    • I agree. I mean people pay for cable and internet access which is what just some electrons flowing around. Waste of money.

      People also pay for services that they can do themselves. Waste of money.

      And don't let me even get started on slashdot subscriptions.

    • Good points...

      Hoewever, don't you get paid sick time? Why would calling in sick affect your pay?

  • by njdj ( 458173 ) on Sunday November 26, 2006 @07:01PM (#16995770)

    The article says: "A university student from China has been arrested for illegally engaging in business activities outside the restrictions of his student visa, police said." Arrested, not deported.

    Of course it's an English summary of a Japanese original. Does anyone here read Japanese well enough to check the original source?

    About the discrepancy in the money amounts mentioned in another reply: 6 million yen is what the student has admitted. That's nowhere near $1 million. Police suspect his total profit is 100 million yen, which is near enough $1 million.

    • by bunions ( 970377 ) on Sunday November 26, 2006 @07:10PM (#16995838)
      You can't deport someone without arresting them first. Deportation is the next logical step, since it sounds like this guy has no defense. There's really not much else they can do to him.

      Well, at least that would be true if Japan has the same laws as the US. As an American, I'm not really capable of imagining places that aren't America, so I just pretend that everywhere that isn't America is just more America except people talk funny.
    • by uhmmmm ( 512629 )
      The original Japanese article also only says he was arrested. It doesn't mention deportation.
    • It's the English edition of a Japanese paper. As long as you trust the original source it's reasonable to assume that they can translate their own articles properly.

      Another poster suggested that deporting might be the only option - I doubt that. They can probably fine him or just ask him to pay taxes on his income. If I'd made $1.3 million I'd be less concerned about being deported and more about being made to pay about $500k taxes....

  • by edwardpickman ( 965122 ) on Sunday November 26, 2006 @07:12PM (#16995856)
    I'm in the wrong business.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 26, 2006 @07:13PM (#16995862)
    Personally, I find it repugnant that banks report "suspicious" activities on their customers in many countries. For example, in the past, if you played with more than $10K at a time, US bank drones filed a report on you. Some years ago, that threshold changed to $3K -- loan to family member, car downpayment, any reasonable major purchase (PS3 plus games?!) - now requires reporting YOU to federal authorities as being suspicious. Interestingly, many banks file a report for any amount $1K in cash.

    Dealing with a little cash is not exclusive only to the terrorists who sell drugs to babies. Nor is having a few thousand dollars in bank transfers solely the realm of pedophile rapists who conduct school shootings.

    This guy got busted by a pro-active bank teller who was trained to believe everything you do is suspicious. All the while, in the US, they look you in the eye and smile like nothing is wrong, because they are generally held to strict secrecy by law. US bank tellers watch your every move and transaction, report your private monetary activities to federal law enforcement without you knowing it, then trot out the dog-n-pony show about some gold-farmer-type guy and we are supposed to believe that justifies our lack of privacy.
    • Most college students who take in $1.3 million over 2 years are doing so via drug dealing. It doesn't take a post-9/11 conspiracy seeking banker to see something suspicious there.

      Apparently this was the nearly unheard of exception, but that doesn't indicate that the suspicion was unreasonable.
    • by grommit ( 97148 )
      You're perfectly welcome to keep your cash (lumps of gold would probably be better since US currency probably has RFID tags in them, right?) underneath your tinfoil hat.

      At any rate, I'd be interested to see *any* credible documentation of banking and or federal regulations that mention this mandatory secretive reporting that you're blathering about.
  • Well sort of

    I knew someone at uni who graduated in my year who became a millionaire in the last six months by hosting a web based service on the uni servers that had tens of thousands of users and got bought for over a million.

    He broke so many uni network rules that the uni could of kicked him out. However they made it quite clear that they liked to have a few rich allumni about the place, and brushed it under the carpet.

    Had he just broken the rules and not got rich I'm sure the story would have been differ
  • Foreign student breaks law, gets deported.

    That's it. The rest is minutae.
  • If he was doing that in the U.S., Donald Trump would be driving him around in limo saying that we needed more entrepreneurs like him.
  • This guy sounds like a true entrepreneur. Instead of deporting him, how about hiring him?

    Just a thought.

  • Who cares that the bank teller alerted authorities, how the hell can WE make 1.3million selling things online - good lord.

    I know SOME small amounts of money can be made but 1.3million? Where do I sign please?
  • ...How the HELL is he making all that money, and where can I get in on this?
  • Who buys these things?
  • What a crock the Japanese are. Here is someone not on social welfare, hardly taking a job away from someone else in violation of his visa terms, and they deport him for being successful instead of broke.

    While I'm sure the bank may have felt he was a criminal getting money in some nefarious way, once they found out what he was really doing they should have just left him alone.

    The good news is that he should be able to continue to pursue his profession just as well from China. Well, that is minus the 20

    • It's a student visa. He's there to learn, and it's made very clear that you're not to hold a job of any kind with that particular immigration status. If he wanted to study and make money, he should have gotten a different visa.

      These rules exist for a reason. They don't want people abusing study rights (because the visa is easier, cheaper, and less regulated--it's also tax free in most countries) to hide employment from the authorities. You don't have employment status in the country, period. You don
  • Maybe because of their recent hardline communist past, they can do the same thing over and over again without getting bored.

    we cant farm/grind like chinese do in wow. hell no.
  • Seems excessive (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Deinesh ( 770292 )
    Most of these laws are designed to prevent students / non-immigrants from stealing jobs from the locals and driving down wages. This guy wasn't messing with the local job market - he could have made the same money in any city in China. Would it have been any diferent if he had made money in the stock market?

  • Hardly $1M admitted. (Score:3, Informative)

    by AlXtreme ( 223728 ) on Monday November 27, 2006 @10:26AM (#17000966) Homepage Journal
    According to, 6M yen is about $51600. Still a nice sum for a student, but not even near $1M.

    According to TFA, the student is _suspected_ to have earned 150M yen, which translates to $1.29M. This is what the police suspect, and has not been admitted by the student in question nor has this claim been supported by any other evidence.

    Editors, even though this is Slashdot please try to do your work. This isn't Digg.

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