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Phone e-mail used in busjacking hoax

May 14, 2001 

Police arrested two men on Saturday on suspicion of making a false police report, relayed by mobile phone e-mail, that a bus had been hijacked on the Tomei Expressway.

Those allegedly responsible for the bus service disruption, were Masaki Kobayashi, 24, unemployed and of no fixed address, and Masahito Fukuda, 25, a construction worker living in Hirakata, Osaka Prefecture.

According to police, Kobayashi got on the JR Dream Osaka 2, a highway bus bound for Tokyo from Osaka, at about 10 p.m. on Friday. At about 2:30 a.m. Saturday, he sent an e-mail to his friend Fukuda.

The e-mail to Fukuda's mobile phone said that the bus had been hijacked. Fukuda then allegedly called police, disrupting the bus service.

Both Kobayashi and Fukuda admitted the allegation and told police that they "wanted to start an incident."

Following Fukuda's call, the Shizuoka prefectural police sent about 20 task force members and 10 patrol cars to the Ashigara rest area in Gotenba, Shizuoka Prefecture, where the bus was scheduled to make a stop.

The bus arrived at about 4:20 a.m. and, as nothing unusual was observed as the passengers got off and used the rest-area facilities, police decided that the report was a hoax.

From a list of the passengers' names that was compiled when the report was made, a police investigator asked Kobayashi to come to the police station.

The Osaka prefectural police found Fukuda's number in Kobayashi's mobile-phone call records.

The bus left the rest area 37 minutes behind schedule.

Copyright The Yomiuri Shimbun

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