5 junior high boys arrested over brutal bullying of fellow student

Posted on July 26, 2012. Filed under: Bullying | Tags: , , |

NEYAGAWA, Osaka — Five junior high school students have been arrested on suspicion of assaulting a 14-year-old boy, including breaking his nose and lighting his hair on fire, the Osaka Prefectural Police announced on July 25.

The five boys — three 15-year-olds and two 13-year-olds — were quoted as telling police that “bullying (the victim) was just so much fun that we kept on doing it.” The boy went to the same school as the five accused.

The five are suspected of using a cigarette lighter to set fire to the victim’s hair at a local public park on May 20 this year — an incident one of the accused apparently filmed with his mobile phone — and punching him in the face and breaking his nose on May 28. According to police, the victim has also said he had been “giving the boys several thousand yen a month” since his first year of junior high school.

According to investigators, on May 26 the accused allegedly ordered the 14-year-old to “catch a koi” in a local river. When the boy complied, getting his trousers wet, the suspects then ordered him to “go steal some trousers hanging out to dry.” The boy was, however, caught before he could get away with the garment and taken into police custody.

Later, the suspects allegedly accused the 14-year-old of telling the police their names, and on the grounds of a Shinto shrine close to the school at least one of the suspects punched the victim in the face, breaking his nose. The incident came to light when the 14-year-old’s homeroom teacher noticed the bruises on his face and informed the school principal, who in turn consulted with police.

At a July 25 news conference, representatives of the Neyagawa Municipal Board of Education told reporters that teachers had noticed the victim was being pushed around by classmates during his first year in junior high, and that he had been moved to a different class the next school year.

“The bullying was obvious, but in the end the school was unable to prevent violence,” a senior board representative stated. “We are deeply sorry to the victim and his parents.”

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