Law enforcement in Volyn, Ukraine, are holding players and administrators of a darknet game called Blue Whale. Investigations into the issue are still ongoing and so the police could not divulge much information on the developments of this case. However, reports from reliable sources indicate that the administrators of the game are two fourth year students who claim they would like to know how far the human mind can go. They are still being held by the police for questioning. Vladimir Solonenko who is the head of the investigation said, “We have managed to uncover the identities of the players and administrators of these groups. We would not like to shed more light concerning this.”
Girls Caught Playing Game
The game is called blue whale or game of death. It has Russian origins where the first suicide by a game player occurred about two years ago. In Ukraine, there hasn’t been any suicide case that has been reported to the authorities. However, there have been numerous cases reported where young people were on the verge of committing suicide only to be saved from doing this.
A representative from the Ukrainian Police force had this to say: We are continuing to see more kids engaged in this game. This has actually seen a surge in the number of suicide attempts reported to the police. This actually shows that these kids are playing with death. We have recently rescued two teenage girls from near death. The girls were active participants of this game.
The girls that have brought this game are teenagers who had been rescued after a rescue mission was conducted at their hostel as they were playing the game. One had deep wounds after cutting herself while playing the game. Apparently, she was still in one of the stages of the game. This stage is called Labyrinth of Death. After completion of this stage, they would have been expected to progress to a higher stage. This would have probably been the final stage where the suicide would have taken place. The girls had completed initial stages, which included inviting more people to the network. The girls had actually recruited over 50 people and invited them to the network.
Rules for Playing the Game of Death
The game itself is played on the darknet and the participants are invite-only. There is a secret message you need to input once invited so as to take part in this game. The administrator of the game said that to participate in this game, you need to always carry a knife, blades and other cutting materials. The participant is also expected to provide their physical address. The administrator then goes to conduct a test on the participant and once they are deemed ready, you are given the first task to do. The task involves things like cutting yourself and then filming or taking a photo of this engagement. You are to send this photo to the administrator before proceeding to the next level. Once the admin is convinced you have passed a particular stage, you then proceed to the next level.
After you have completed a couple of rounds, the administrator then gives you the final task which involves taking a film of yourself and then committing suicide. These films and photos are then sold on the darknet marketplaces.
One police administrator had this to say: Once you are recruited and the administrator sees that there is a desire to take part in this game, then it becomes hard for the participant to leave the game. This is because the administrator threatens to kill their loved ones or expose photos that they have taken. This has a huge bearing on these teenagers and they go to great lengths to do as the administrator asks.
A child psychologist who was contacted concerning this report had this to say, “Children who are brought up in families where they tend to interact with their parents more and engage in hobbies, will display less tendency to engage in this game. In cases where parents have neglected their responsibilities, or there is a misunderstanding in the family, then a child is more predisposed to engage in such dangerous games.
Comments from Darknet Vendors
Although the police were not revealing the identities of the marketplaces where the photos are being sold, it is believed that they are sold in private, invite-only. Marketplaces like Wall Street Market generally have policies that highly discourage vending of such films and photos.
“We do not in any way support the sale of such films on our platform and discourage our vendors and clients from doing so. We tend to think that such actions are inhumane and despicable,” one of the client administrators at Apple Market said.
“Darknet markets should never be used to promote cruel practices in society. The perpetrators of such vices should be convicted,” said an anonymous darknet vendor from Ramp when reached out for comment.