Pokemon GO was only launched officially last month, but the tales around it have already started assuming legendary proportions. While most of the reports range from funny to weird, some are downright scary and even tragic. However, now comes a report from the island nation of Taiwan that likely falls in the penultimate category. According to the country’s National Police Agency, as many as 349 drivers and bike riders in the country have already been fined for playing the game while navigating through traffic. While the very idea of operating vehicles without having your eye on the road is scary enough, the fact that most were actually riding two-wheelers, is what makes the news even more astonishing.
Authorities in Taiwan are already trying their best to keep their citizens from harming themselves or others while playing the game. Not only have the law enforcement in the country issued warnings to citizens about public safety, but even the Taiwanese premier, Mr. Lin Chuan, recently posted a Pokemon-inspired message on Facebook, asking Pokemon players to “Catch the rare creatures but don’t let accidents catch up with you”. Taipei’s National Palace Museum has already banned people from playing the game in a number of exhibition halls in the country, while the Railways Administration, too, has come out with a list of places that are off-limits for Pokemon chasers.
Anybody who has played Pokemon GO will attest to the fact that the game is immensely rewarding and decidedly addictive, but is it worth risking your life for? We have earlier read stories about how people have taken crazy risks in trying to catch Pokemon in all sorts of places, resulting in injuries and even death, so it is about time people start taking note and maintain basic safety standards while pursuing the Squirtles and the Pidgeys. The game has also attracted its fair share of critics who have expressed deep reservations about memorials like the Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, the Holocaust National Museum in Washington D.C. or the Atomic Bomb Memorial Park in Hiroshima being invaded by hundreds of Pokemon players who haven’t always been the most reverential at these rather somber places.