Mon, Sep 05, 2016 - Page 3 News List

‘Pokemon Go’ crowds return to Beitou

CATCH THIS ONE:Police said a resident allegedly threw a brick that smashed a car windscreen as traffic congestion, trash and noise created tension around the park

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

People playing Pokemon Go were reported in large numbers in parks and pedestrian areas of Taipei commercial districts again this weekend.

Massive gatherings of Pokemon Go players were reported at Beitou Park, a tourist attraction with natural hot springs and Japanese-style bathhouses, yesterday and on Saturday, while other major green spaces in Taipei, including Daan Forest Park, Taipei Flora Expo Park, Hsinsheng Park, Bihu Park and Dahu Park in Neihu District (內湖), Fushan Park, as well as pedestrian zones in the Ximending (西門町) area and shopping plazas near Taipei 101 also saw large crowds, Taipei police said.

The belief that the Pokemon Go craze would blow over with the end of the summer holidays was disproved, although police officials said the crowds had thinned a little and there were not as many people on weekdays.

The largest gathering was at Beitou Park, with local media outlets broadcasting videos from passers-by showing a crowd at a park entrance at the intersection of Guangming Road, Zhongshan Road and Zhonghe Street on Saturday night.

Netizens said they were surprised to see so many Pokemon Go players again, with some saying it seemed that the crowds were larger than at Saturday’s protest over pension reform.

“We had to beef up traffic controls around the park and dispatch extra patrols 24 hours a day for the past week,” said Yu Cheng-han (余承翰), chief of police at Kuangming Precinct in Beitou District (北投), which has jurisdiction over Beitou Park and surrounding areas.

Yu said that since Pokemon Go was released in Taiwan on Aug. 11, his precinct had issued 730 traffic tickets, mostly for illegally parked cars near Beitou Park.

Yu said that officers had to enforce traffic rules and try to keep crowds from spilling onto roads, with the crowds at times being uncontrollable as they ran en masse toward a spot where rare in-game creatures were displayed.

Police were investigating an incident early yesterday morning in which a car’s front window was smashed by a brick as the driver waited at traffic lights.

The brick was allegedly thrown from a building by a resident upset at the noise of so many people, police said, adding that congestion and trash have also caused problems.

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