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YouTuber gets warning, 5 videos removed after dodging train fares, stealing food in Japan

SINGAPORE: YouTube has issued a warning to content creator Fidias after he uploaded a video of himself and three others free-riding around Japan, sparking an investigation by local authorities. 

The YouTuber, who has about 2.38 million subscribers, shared a video over the weekend showing how he dodged fares by hiding in the toilet of a bullet train. 

He also pretended to be ill when confronted by a ticket collector, before escaping to board another train where he pulls the same trick. 

In response to CNA’s queries, a YouTube spokesperson said on Wednesday (Oct 25) that five videos from Fidias’ channel had been removed for violating the platform’s content policy.

A check by CNA at 5.30pm on Wednesday showed that his I Travelled Across Japan For Free video was unavailable.

“YouTube has well established community guidelines that outline what isn’t allowed on our platform and we apply them consistently regardless of the channel or creator,” said the YouTube spokesperson.

“Five videos from the channel were removed for violating our harmful or dangerous content policy and the channel has been issued a warning in accordance with our long standing three strike system.”

The video-sharing site adheres to a three-strike policy before it terminates an account. 

Fidias’ video has since been reuploaded by other users.

One of the clips show him entering a hotel and pretending to be a guest in order to get free breakfast.

“I just (got) access to a five-star Japanese buffet. And we’re leaving the hotel without getting caught and without any problem,” he triumphantly tells the camera.

Other parts of the video show the four begging for money from locals to pay for tickets.

His behaviour has sparked condemnation, becoming the latest example of fame-seeking foreigners riling locals in Japan.

“Another strange, annoying YouTuber from abroad emerged. In addition to this guy Fidias, the three others should be arrested,” one social media user said.

Another said: “Surprisingly, comments section to his (online post) is full of applause. (Police) should arrest him to prevent copycat crimes from happening.”

Regional train operator JR Kyushu said it was studying the footage before deciding whether to inform the police.

“We are aware of the case and investigating facts around it,” a spokesman told AFP.

The YouTuber issued an apology on Tuesday.

“Hello beautiful people I apologise to the Japanese people if we made them feel bad that was not our goal! From now on I am going to be make more research to the cultures we go to and try to prevent this from happening again,” he said on his channel. 

YouTube's content removal policy

YouTube’s harmful or dangerous content policy covers instructional theft videos posted “with the express intent to steal physical goods or get something for free”, according to its website.

Some offending videos may get an exception when it is deemed to have educational, documentary, scientific or artistic context.

Under YouTube’s three-strike policy, a channel will not be able to post videos for a week after its first strike.

The punishment is doubled on a second strike, with the third resulting in channel termination.

Channels who have received a warning will have the option to appeal the decision.

Three strikes in the same 90-day period results in the channel being permanently removed from YouTube.

Each strike will not expire until 90 days from the time it was issued, said the website. 

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