TAIPEI: Nearly 350 drivers in Taiwan were slapped with fines for playing on their phones after Pokemon Go launched on the island, which has already resulted in broken legs and museum bans.
The gaming app has sparked a global frenzy since its launch last month as users hunt for virtual cartoon characters overlaid on real-world locations using augmented reality technology.
A total of 349 fines were issued since the game launched in Taiwan on Saturday, with the majority of the offenders driving motorcycles, according to the National Police Agency.
While Pokemon Go has been praised for motivating people to become more active, authorities have warned players to remain alert.
“Catch the rare creatures, but don’t let accidents catch up with you!” Taiwan’s Premier Lin Chuan said on the cabinet’s Facebook page.
Drivers face fines of Tw$3,000 ($95) if caught using their phone, while motorcyclist have to hand over Tw$1,000.
A 20-year-old man in New Taipei City fractured his knee Saturday after falling off his motorbike while looking at his phone, according to Apple Daily.
At Taipei’s National Palace Museum officials banned visitors from playing Pokemon Go in its exhibition halls, which house prized artefacts from Chinese history spanning 7,000 years.
Elsewhere, authorities are seeking to set firm parameters for avid Pokemon Go players.
In Thailand, authorities warned its citizens against entering polling stations in their search for the cyber creatures as the nation voted on a new constitution Sunday.
Iran, which blocks many global news and social media sites, went so far as to ban the game entirely.