'Pokemon Go' prompts warnings from police, government agencies

08/06/2016 07:14 PM

Taipei, Aug. 6 (CNA) The popular reality mobile game Pokemon Go, which became available in Taiwan from Saturday, has prompted local authorities to issue warnings, cautioning players to stay safe and not enter restricted areas to capture the "monsters."

Taipei traffic police warned that gamers who hunt Pokemon monsters while driving a car will risk a fine of NT$3,000 (US$95), while the fine for scooter riders will be NT$1,000.

Pedestrian gamers who disregard the traffic signals or traffic police, or obstruct traffic by running around, sitting or standing in the middle of busy roads or railroad crossings may be subject to a fine of NT$300, although there are no laws to prevent people from playing Pokemon Go on sidewalks and in pedestrian arcades, police said.

Taiwan is the third area in Asia where the game has become available, following Hong Kong and Japan.

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

The Taiwan Area National Freeway Bureau also issued a statement Saturday, urging people not to play the game while driving on the highway.

Drivers who slow down or stop on the highway to catch virtual monsters will risk a fine of between NT$3,000 and NT$6,000, the bureau warned.

The Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA), meanwhile, announced that the game is banned in its stations, on its trains, at railroad crossings and along its railway tracks. It said it will ask railway police to intervene if passengers refuse to cooperate.

"We are concerned that the game will disturb other passengers" and cause safety problems, TRA official Chen Yu-mou (陳裕謀) said.

A warning was also issued by National Police Agency Director-General Chen Kuo-en (陳國恩), who cautioned gamers to refrain from entering restricted or dangerous areas and to make sure they obtain an authentic version of the game as fake copies may contain malware. He further advised that people pay attention to what their children are doing as criminals may try to lure players to dangerous locations.

Ministry of National Defense spokesman Chen Chung-chi (陳中吉) also warned gamers against entering military bases or restricted military areas, saying smartphones equipped with cameras, hotspot, positioning and bluetooth functions could compromise confidential military information.

Other warnings came from lawyers, who said gamers will risk a prison sentence of up to one year and a fine if they illegally enter other people's houses or premises to catch Pokemon monsters.

The New Taipei City Police Department issued the following list of warnings to players of the Pokemon game:

1. Keep your eyes on the road when you are walking.

2. Do not enter restricted zones. Nuclear power plants and military bases are not open to the game.

3. Beware of fake information on the Internet. Do not easily trust other Internet users or visit certain places alone.

4.Be aware of the weather and prepare a mobile power bank in case your phone runs out of power.

5. Ask someone to accompany you when hunting Pokemon monsters outdoors at night and do not venture into isolated areas.

6. Do not break into other people's homes or company property.

7. Do not play Pokemon Go while riding a scooter or driving a car.

(By Yu Kai-hsiang and Christie Chen)ENDITEM/pc

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