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Police warn sex abuse emails are phony

Date Posted: 2007-10-09

Emails are circulating across Japan, warning that “a small girl is getting sexually molested at a supermarket toilet,” but police say the messages are malicious pranks.
The chain emails tell recipients to “send this to as many people as possible,” but Okinawa Prefecture Police officials say there’s no truth to any of the emails. “We have never confirmed any instances of this happening,” says a policeman who asks the prankster to “stop sending this mail.” Police say the emails are making people afraid, and getting the truth to the public is difficult.
Parents are reacting nervously, leading one mother of nine and five-year-old girls to call the supermarket named in the email and inquire. The initial spate of reports began in July, when an Urasoe City girl disappeared, leading a Parent Teachers Association official to call police and ask for help. As it turned out, the girl was safe at school.
Police and the PTA groups say they keep in touch with each other via cell phones, and share problems. The Japan Data Communication Association is warning the public not to panic, but to call authorities and request confirmation of email reports they question.

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