Cebu judge warns Pokemon players: Stay out of my court
CEBU CITY, Philippines—Justice may be blind, but this judge can see Pokemon Go players and will either fine or jail them for disturbing court proceedings.
Judge Yvonne Cabaron Artiaga of the Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC) Branch 3 posted several warnings outside her court after she noticed on Tuesday that people in the courtroom were tinkering with their mobile phones and appeared to be “catching something” while the court was in session.
All that milling around was distracting people in the courtroom and affected the proceedings, the judge said.
On Wednesday, Artiaga’s chamber door bloomed with several handwritten signs warning Pokemon Go players.
Read one: “Lawyers and Litigants: There is no Pokemon in my chamber. I will use to the full extent my contempt power for any Pokemon-related disturbance.”
Another warning read: “Under pain of contempt, Pokemon-catching inside the court is strictly prohibited. Justice may be blind but it can see Pokemon catchers. Violators will face fine and imprisonment.”
Pokemon Go, the latest craze to hit several countries, including the Philippines, is an augmented reality Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) game that allows players to capture, trade and battle virtual creatures called pocket monsters (Pokemon). It is played on mobile devices that have global positioning system (GPS) and internet connection.
Because the game is interactive and uses GPS, players have to focus on the screen of their mobile devices to track down Pokemon creatures in shopping malls, schools, important landmarks, the streets, and even the courtroom.
The Philippine National Police has posted safety tips for Pokemon Go players on its
In an interview with reporters, the PNP police community relations group director, Senior Supt. Gilbert Cruz, said it would be better for Pokemon Go players to “hunt” with a companion and “to always be alert about their surroundings.”
“As much as possible, they should not go in unsafe and dark places,” he said.
At the same time, Cruz said, players should avoid hunting in crowded places “because you might hurt somebody since your concentration is (on your device) and not where you’re going.”
Not ‘cell phone go’
Gamers should also beware of cell phone snatchers and thieves looking for easy prey. “This is Pokemon Go, not ‘cell phone go,’” he said.
In Zamboanga City, Mayor Maria Isabelle Salazar advised gamers to exercise caution while enjoying the online game craze to ensure public safety.
“Please prioritize your safety above all else. Avoid playing the game while driving and crossing streets and do not trespass on other people’s properties,” she said, adding that parents should accompany their young children who are playing the game.
To young gamers, the mayor said: “Always inform your parents and guardians and always have a friend with you when going out to play. Be wary of lures as these may be used by unscrupulous individuals to take advantage of players.”
The Zamboanga City police chief, Supt. Luisito Magnaye, said his men had yet to receive incident reports related to the mobile app game. “But we are on watch,” he added.
Salazar noted that churches and mosques, business and government establishments, parks and historic areas were often designated as “Pokestops and gyms,” so players must “respect rules and the laws and regulations in these areas.”
Salazar also advised young gamers not to forget their life outside Pokemon Go.
“Log off once in a while and do other activities to nurture your relationships and develop your potential. Be safe, have fun and happy hunting!”
Shopping malls have taken advantage of the popularity of the interactive game.
SM Supermalls, for one, is staging a nationwide Lure Party today, with more than 150 Pokestops lured simultaneously from 5 to 9 p.m. in 50 SM malls, including SM Jazz Mall, SM Light Mall and SMDC Green Residences.
The four-hour event will feature fun-filled activities and attractions, including Pokemon characters and cosplayers strolling around the malls, as well as Pokemon collectibles, Pokemon Go essentials and special Pokemon promos in select SM branches.
Shoppers are also encouraged to video their lure party experience and post it on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #GottaCatchEmAllatSM, tagging @smsupermalls.
Three winners will be chosen via e-raffle and will win an SM shopping spree worth P10,000 each.
For updates, Lure locations and everything Pokemon Go, they can also visit the SM Supermalls’ website and its official accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Viber Public Chat, and follow SM on Snapchat. With reports from Jerome Aning and Julie S. Alipala, Inquirer Mindanao
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