Vietnam wants Pokemon out of religious, historic sites

By VnExpress   August 17, 2016 | 02:05 am PT
Vietnam wants Pokemon out of religious, historic sites
People flocking to downtown Ho Chi Minh City in search of virtual creatures that appear on their smartphone screens. Photo by VnExpress
The mobile game appears to be pushing the authorities to the limit.

In a country that is still dominated by Confucian social mores, the Vietnamese government thinks it is inappropriate for a crowd of mobile phone game players to cause disturbances in solemn and commemorative places such as pagodas, churches and memorials.

Government staff will contact the software developer of Pokemon Go and request that it remove Pokestops from religious and historic sites and other sensitive locations, Le Quang Tu Do, a senior official at the Ministry of Communication and Information, told the press Wednesday.

Pokestops are part of globally popular mobile phone game Pokemon Go. Players usually gather around Pokestops so that they can pick up virtual items to continue their hunt for more Pokemon creatures. Places like churches, parks, war memorials, museums, monuments, art installations, and shopping malls can be designated as Pokest-ops.

Pokemon Go was officially released in Vietnam on August 6. Since then the augmented reality game has become a huge success in the Southeast Asian country.

Thousands of game players have been lured onto the streets and camping out at all hours of the day and night to capture virtual creatures.There have been numerous traffic violations since its release, and police have caught people playing the game while driving their motorbikes or parking their vehicles in restricted areas.

Police have also warned Pokemon Go players to stay vigilant following an incident of a woman in Ho Chi Minh City losing her smartphone to a robber while playing the game.

The mobile game seems to have tested the Vietnamese authorities to the limit.

In this latest move, the government has called for a crackdown on the locations featured in the game after several public places in major cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City were flooded with players hoping to capture Pokemons on their mobiles.

Vietnamese authorities also advised the mobile game players to stay vigilant against threat posed by malware, which has become more of a risk recently following the massive success of the reality game.

More importantly, Pokemon Go has not been registered as a legal mobile phone game in Vietnam yet, said Do, the government official, pointing out the risks of losing money or account information players could face.

“The ministry holds the opinion that both foreign and domestic mobile game apps must comply with Vietnamese laws," he said. "Otherwise we will have to take preventive action to protect players.

Related news:

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Pokemon Go player has smartphone snatched in Saigon

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