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Wanted woman picked up by police while playing 'Pokemon Go'

2016/08/07 19:51:22

(Police photo)

Taipei, Aug. 7 (CNA) A woman wanted by police was picked up Sunday in Miaoli County after she was stopped on her scooter by traffic patrol officers while she was playing the virtual reality game Pokemon Go, one day after its launch in Taiwan, police said.

An ID check revealed that she was listed as wanted for breaking a court order more than a year ago, police said.

The 19-year-old woman, surnamed Liu, had been convicted of an offense when she was a minor and was on probation but had failed to comply with a court order in the case, which resulted in her being listed as wanted, police said.

She was riding a scooter at about 3 a.m. Sunday, hunting virtual monsters in the Pokeman game that was derived from a Japanese cartoon series, according to police.

Liu was stopped by police, fined NT$1,000 for using a mobile phone while riding a scooter and was later handed over to the Hsinchu District Prosecutors Office, which had placed her on the wanted list, police said.

Pokemon Go is played by using the GPS function on a mobile device to locate, capture, battle, and even train virtual monsters.

Since its introduction into Taiwan Saturday, various government authorities have issued warnings about road safety and traffic regulations and have listed some of the fines that Pokemon players risk if they disregard the regulations.

In a Facebook post Sunday, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) joined the calls for players to pay attention to road safety.

He also urged people to spend more time with their family and friends, instead of playing mobile games.

If people must play Pokeman Go, however, they should "take their parents out on the hunt for Pikachu," Ko said, referring to the main monster in the cartoon series and the most coveted one in the virtual reality game.

Meanwhile, the National Palace Museum in Taipei has banned the game on its premises and at its southern branch, citing concern for the safety of visitors and its collections.

The game has also been banned on the sites of several public transportation operators, including Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA), which said Saturday that Pokemon Go should not be played at railway crossings, along the tracks or beyond its ticket gates.

The TRA said it will ask the game developers not to place any virtual collectibles or supply stations -- known as PokeStops -- in its railway stations, on its trains or along its rail tracks.

Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp. also issued similar warnings, while Taipei Metro cautioned that the Mass Rapid Transit Act allows a fine of NT$1,500-$7,500 against passengers who pose a safety risk to themselves or others.

The Pokeman game is also not allowed in any of Taiwan's airports after security checks or aircraft parking bays, according to the Civil Aeronautics Administration.

Meanwhile, in New Taipei, the Zhonghe police precinct dispelled rumors that a motorcycle crash on an expressway Saturday was linked to the game.

No evidence has been found that the rider was using a mobile phone at the time of the crash, police said.

Taiwan is the third Asian area in which the game has been launched, following Japan and Hong Kong, since its release July 6 in the United States.

(By Lu Kang-chun, Ku Chuan, Wang Hong-kuo, Huang Kuo-fang, Chen
Wei-ting and Kay Liu)
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