Singapore

Pokemon Go players risk lives by dashing across road

Players risk their lives, leave mess in Hougang

It looked like a festive gathering, with families and couples sitting around and chatting while glancing at their mobile phones.

Then they suddenly sprang to their feet and most of them dashed across the road, forcing some vehicles to brake to avoid hitting them.

The reason? A rare and powerful Pokemon called Snorlax had just been spotted.

This was the chaotic scene near Block 401, Hougang Avenue 10, at 9.25pm yesterday as scores of Pokemon Go players risked their lives in their haste to try to catch a prized Pokemon.

As they left the amphitheatre near Block 401 to head to Punggol Park, where the Snorlax had been seen, many of them ran across Hougang Avenue 8 without checking for oncoming traffic first.

SCARY

Ms Jasmine Wee, 30, a property agent who was at the scene, told The New Paper: "It was quite scary how people just dashed across the road with no regard for their own and other people's safety.

"Cars had to brake suddenly to avoid knocking them down. It was crazy."

A player, student Edwin Lim, 24, told TNP: "One group started running (towards Punggol Park), so everyone just followed.

"It was only along the way that I heard it was a Snorlax. When my friends and I got there, it was still there. Some of us caught it in one try, but some missed it."

Hundreds of players had gathered at the amphi theatre daily since Saturday when Pokemon Go was launched in Singapore because four PokeStops equipped with lure modules are located there.

Mr Saiful Rizan, 26, a warehouse assistant who lives at Block 414, about 50m from the amphitheatre, said: "The crowd is just amazing. I've been living here since 1999 and I have never seen such a huge crowd at 1am."

The crowd grew as the night progressed, with one resident estimating that there were about 400 people at 8pm.

The resident, who wanted to be known only as Mr Kwek, 22, said the area was so packed, he had difficulty finding his sister.

"She was playing Pokemon Go, and it took me quite a while before I could spot her," he said.

He also said he had to wait to get a parking space in the carpark near his block, which was unusual.

"I saw cars queueing up just to get a parking lot at around 8pm."

Residents also complained about the rubbish left behind by the players.

Litter at the ampitheatre where players had gathered. PHOTO: FACEBOOK/JANTZEN LEE

Ms Irene Lim, 55, a resident of Block 415, said: "It's usually dirty after the gatherings. But there was this secondary schoolgirl picking up trash at about 5pm on Monday."

Another resident at Block 415, who wanted to be known as Ms Loga, said: "I was shocked when I saw this number of people. It's quite interesting, but there were lots of rubbish the morning after."

Residents said the crowds managed to keep noise to a minimum.

Mr Saiful, who lives on the second storey of Block 414, said: "The only time people shouted was when a rare Pokemon appeared."

It was good news for shops in the area as sales at nearby businesses have jumped as a result of these daily Pokemon Go gatherings.

Ms Tan Meng Kee, 57, who works at KTM 11 Supermart, which is next to the amphitheatre, told TNP its sales have increased by 20 per cent to 30 per cent since Saturday.

"We now close the shop at 2am instead of the usual 11pm," she added.

The 7-Eleven shop next door has also seen its sales double since Saturday.

Yishun Park, which boasts a Pokemon Go gym and four PokeStops, was also teeming with players at 4.30pm yesterday.

There were also concerns about road safety there.

A 36-year-old resident, who wanted to be known only as Mr Hairul, said: "I was just driving by the park and people were not looking at the traffic lights when they crossed the road."

Another resident, Mr Peter Wang, 50, who was cycling with his two sons, said: "It can be quite dangerous when some of them play their games while riding scooters."

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