Pokemon Go players have stumbled into places they really shouldn’t be on the hunt for digital monsters. It seems that for some fans of the popular app, catching them all is more important than personal safety.
Every once in a while, you hear stories of pet owners who drowned because they jumped into streams trying to save their dogs. Now it seems people risk their lives for digital creatures, too – even though those actions are more careless than heroic.
Pokemon Go has been a runaway hit around the globe. Wherever the app is released, countless users go on the hunt for digital monsters in the real world, using their smartphone camera and GPS. But instead of keeping their eyes glued to the screen, it would do them good to look up every once in a while.
Single-minded to the point of recklessness
Ignoring a red light because you’re focused on your phone is one thing. But Bosnia is dealing with an entirely different level of ignorance. Pokemon chasers in the southeastern European country have walked into areas littered with unexploded landmines, news agency Agence France-Press (AFP) reported.
“Today we received information that some users of the Pokemon Go app in Bosnia were going to places which are a risk for (unexploded) mines, in search of a pokemon,” NGO Posavina bez mina posted on its Facebook page. “Citizens are urged not to do so, to respect demarcation signs of dangerous mine fields and not to go into unknown areas.”
The former Yugoslav country is still littered with mines planted during the 1992-1995 war.
‘Pikachu is not worth your personal safety’
In the US, several energy providers had to warn people not to get too close to their high voltage facilities. Players were getting too close for comfort. One reason: certain Pokemon can be found in real-life environments that correspond to their characteristics. Players can catch water Pokemon close to streams – and apparently, have been hunting for electrical Pokemon around power plants.
“Apparently Pikachu, who as you probably know is one of the most recognizable Pokemon and the Pokemon mascot, is electric,” American Electric Power spokeswoman Tammy Ridout told online news site Climate Wire. “Gamers have shown up at our power plants, and there was some discussion that you could catch electric type Pokemon near substations and transformers.”
Other energy providers have taken precautions and warned their followers on social media.
Dominion Virginia Power shared a picture of the most famous black and yellow Pokemon on Facebook and wrote:
“If you see Pikachu hiding by a substation or a power plant, DO NOT chase him – it’s a trap! He is trying to get you arrested or even injured! Please always be aware of surroundings as you play and good luck catching them all!”
Trespassing on military grounds
In Indonesia, a tourist got in trouble this week when he wandered into a military base while hunting for Pokemon. The 27-year-old “unintentionally entered the complex as he was hunting Pokemon while jogging,” Col. Yusri Yunus, a spokesman for West Java police, said.
The French tourist was caught at a checkpoint after initially running away from security guards. An unknown person fleeing guards at a restricted military facility – this could have easily ended in disaster, but the Pokemon hunter got lucky. He was only taken into custody and released a few hours later.
Minefields, power stations, military bases – it seems that when a Pokemon beckons, some people will follow the little monster anywhere. Police in the US state of New Hampshire hope to use the craze to their advantage.
Are you ‘one of the lucky ones’?
Manchester police posted a notice on their Facebook wall, alerting their followers to a rare Charizard Pokemon that was supposedly sighted at the police station.
“We have recently found out that there is a Charizard in our booking area. With the Charizard being such a rare character, we are only inviting a specific number of people. If your name appears on the following list you are one of the lucky ones. Come down to the station to capture Charizard.”
The attached link led to the Wanted Persons list of the Manchester Police Department. The tongue-in-cheek post has gone viral since it was published on Sunday, with more than 37,000 Likes and media around the world picking up on it.
There are no reports yet on whether one of the suspects on the list actually showed up to capture the Charizard. But if Pokemon Go players walk into mine fields and military bases, who’s to say they wouldn’t turn themselves in for a rare creature – even if just by accident.