Enter the maze

Theft or is it?

Mouse Crime

All over the world people play networked games such as Legend of Mir. In these virtual worlds you can fight dragons or pilot spaceships. The games also contain special weapons, enchanted swords or armour, and often players will have to fight many a monster to get them. Once you 'own' these virtual bits of property, which are nothing more that a bit of computer code, you can trade them with others. It's a booming business on the Internet and the games section of Ebay saw more than 5 million pounds of real money spent in trades in 2003 for these virtual game items. Passions can run high. In 2005 Qui Chengwei stabbed Zhu Caoyuan in the chest when he found out he had sold the virtual sword that Mr Qui had lent to Mr Zhu. However attempts to take the dispute to the police failed because there is currently no law in China to protect virtual property.