Egyptian student dies reportedly of self-poisoning after playing Blue Whale game

Ahram Online , Thursday 19 Apr 2018

The Blue Whale
The Blue Challenge (Photo: Reuters)

A sixth-grade student in Egypt’s Beheira governorate in the Nile Delta died in hospital on Thursday after ingesting poisonous grain-storage tablets, a task reportedly assigned to him while playing the suicidal internet Blue Whale game, Al-Ahram Arabic website reported.

The child arrived earlier on Thursday in hospital suffering from phosphoric poisoning and revealed he took the tablets as part of the last level of the game.

He was found to have the sign of the whale engraved into his arm, a known task assigned in the game, said local media quoting police investigations.

Over the past several weeks, social media and TV news shows in Egypt have been dominated by discussions about the suicide of 18-year-old teenager Khaled El-Fakharany -- the son of former Egyptian MP Hamdy El-Fakharany – who was found hanging in his home in Gharbeya governorate on 2 April.

El-Fakharany's death was linked to the deadly internet game, which is also known as A Silent House, A Sea of Whales, and Wake Me Up at 4:20am.

The game was created in Russia in 2013 by Philipp Budeikin, a 21-year old former psychology student who was arrested and sentenced in August 2017 to three years imprisonment for inciting children to commit suicide.

Budeikin told Russian police last year that he thought of his victims as "biological waste" and that they were "happy to die." He claimed he was "cleansing society."

El-Fakharany’s was the second reported death in Egypt reportedly connected to the Blue Whale challenge.

In January, a 32-year-old mentally ill man reportedly killed his father to fulfill one of the game’s tasks.

The game reportedly starts with the player being assigned simple tasks such as waking up at a certain time and watching horror movies.

However, the tasks gradually become more severe to challenge the player's capabilities, and threatens blackmail if they do not comply.

Since the game was created, there have been reports of suicides linked to the game in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, India and Tunisia, where it was recently banned by a court order.

The Egyptian parliament has recently begun discussing listing or promoting the Blue Whale game as a cybercrime.

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