A man has been arrested in Japan on suspicion carrying out a virtual mugging spree by using software "bots" to beat up and rob characters in the online computer game Lineage II. The stolen virtual possessions were then exchanged for real cash.
Is this really a criminal action?
Sure what the guy has done is cheating, but most definitely not criminal. The article doesn't give any details about what charges have been laid so it is hard to know exactly what he did wrong.
This sounds more like an issue with game design. The whole fact you're able to mug someone in-game makes this a non-crime. If the developers are worried about mugging then they should take the 'looting other Player Characters (PC)' out of the game. It seems to me the only thing 'wrong' this guy did was to use a Bot (making his him unbeatable), which is probably outlined as a no-no in the EULA. Show me where in the manual is says, "If you use a Bot you will be arrested." If they don't want Bots in-game, then track down the offenders, ban their accounts and give the loot back to the rightful owners.