A man believed to have developed an online game that encourages teenagers to self-harm and eventually kill themselves has been arrested in Moscow, Russia.
International media outlets say 26-year-old Ilya Sidorov, a postman, has contributed to 32 teenage suicides in various countries.
Sidorov, reportedly described as a humble postman, was arrested on a rooftop in Moscow on Friday to answer to a charge of encouraging a 13-year-old girl to kill herself by jumping under a train.
Police said they monitored chats between him and the girl when her foster parents recorded a statement.
He is said to have confessed to developing the game, which set youngsters on a series of grim tasks, culminating in suicidal acts.
Sidorov was asked in a shocking video filmed by East2West Media Group: “What was the final task? How does the game end?”
“To commit suicide,” he reportedly replied.
The fatal game called ‘Blue Whale’ involves brainwashing children.
It takes approximately 50 days and urges them to watch horror movies, cut themselves and go without sleep as they carry out a series of “tasks”, while posting videos or pictures to prove it.
Eventually fixated on the death cult, and confused, the players are told to kill themselves.
The ‘Blue Whale Challenge’ has been linked to more than 130 deaths, according to British paper The Independent, at the bidding of Sidorov and other network mentors.
Another suicide game administrator Philipp Budeikin, 21, is also being held by the Russian authorities on charges of encouraging at least 16 schoolgirls to kill themselves.
The game caused shockwaves in Kenyan households recently when it was linked to the death of a teenager.
It is said to have gained notoriety, with parents around the globe being warned to be vigilant about their children’s social media activities.
So far in Kenya, two publicly reported suicide cases have been linked to Blue Whale.
The body of Jamie Njenga, a Form Two student at JG Kiereini High School, was found hanging on the balcony of a hotel in Nyamakima, Nairobi last month. A relative blamed the death on the game.
According to reports, once a player signs in for the game, he or she is assigned an administrator who is responsible for assigning tasks for 50 days.
Users are to send photographic evidence of completing the task given.
Teenagers spend nights online, become secretive, tired and get annoyed easily.
The administrators threaten to harm them and their families if they fail to kill themselves.
“Five mobile phones, a tablet and several SIM cards were confiscated during the search. The suspect admitted that he is the administrator of a so-called suicide group that had 32 members, all of them under age,” Russian Interior Ministry spokeswoman Colonel Irina Volk told The Mail Online.
“He assigned them tasks aimed at injuring themselves in order to incite suicide.”