Pokemon hacker could face five years in prison for selling manipulated Scarlet and Violet save data in Japan

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet Mew & Mewtwo event
(Image credit: Nintendo)

A seller of hacked Pokemon has been arrested in Japan after selling custom save files for up to $90.

As reported by NHK News (and translated by Automaton Media), Japan police arrested a 36-year-old man on April 9 for the act of selling hacked rare Pokemon in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet. The hacked Pokemon were reportedly sold between December 2022 and March 2023, and were allegedly sold for around 13,000 Yen, which equates to around $90.

Japan police reportedly caught the seller in the literal act of selling hacked Pokemon save data files, at one point offering six rare Pokemon for $30. NHK News reports that the defendant has admitted to the crime since his arrest earlier this week, and says that they did it to earn a living. The investigation is still ongoing though, as Japan police suspect millions of Yen could have been earned via hacked Pokemon.

Surprisingly, hacking and editing save file data in Japan is a violation of the Unfair Competition Prevention Act, which was only passed into law in 2019. Anyone found guilty of violating the Act can potentially face up to five years in prison, or a punishment of a fine of over five million Yen, a far cry from what the defendant was reportedly earning.

Because of the Japanese nature of the law prohibiting the sale of hacked save data, the act isn't illegal overseas in regions like America and the UK. Still, The Pokemon Company and developer Game Freak aren't exactly fans of the whole business, and understandably don't look favorably upon selling hacked Pokemon.

Take a look at our upcoming Switch games guide for an overview of the Pokemon titles we've got to look forward to.

Hirun Cryer

Hirun Cryer is a freelance reporter and writer with Gamesradar+ based out of U.K. After earning a degree in American History specializing in journalism, cinema, literature, and history, he stepped into the games writing world, with a focus on shooters, indie games, and RPGs, and has since been the recipient of the MCV 30 Under 30 award for 2021. In his spare time he freelances with other outlets around the industry, practices Japanese, and enjoys contemporary manga and anime.