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Police in the US have arrested a man on suspicion of arranging a mass Valentine's Day suicide via the net. Gerald Krien of Klamath Falls, Oregon, used an internet chat room to arrange the mass killing, said police. He was arrested on Wednesday and his computer seized for further examination.

Thirty-two people across the US and Canada are understood to be part of the suicide pact including a mother who agreed to kill her two children. Police are eager to trace the children to ensure they are safe.

Investigators say webcams and the net were to be used to co-ordinate the mass killing. CNN quotes Klamath County Sheriff Timothy Evinger as saying: "The scary part is with just a name and intent on the web, you can draw in people world-wide. It doesn't surprise me that we could be just scratching the surface...the tip of the iceberg here."

In October, seven young Japanese found suffocated to death in a car were believed to have died as a result of an internet suicide pact. The seven - four men and three women - were discovered in the vehicle in Minano, near Tokyo. The deceased sealed the car windows from the inside and lit charcoal burners. They succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning. ®

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