World

'Pokemon hunter' cabby for hire

A Mexican taxi driver has jumped on the Pokemon Go craze sweeping the world by driving smartphone-armed customers around in search of the augmented reality game's target creatures.

The mobile phone game has become an instant hit, with more users in the United States than Twitter a week after launch.

Players are spending longer on the application than they do with some of the most popular social platforms such as Instagram or WhatsApp.

The Nintendo game is not yet available in Mexico, but some users have worked out how to access the game.

To play the augmented reality mobile phone game, players must physically walk or drive around in the real world to capture Pokemon creatures.

MORE THAN 20 CALLS

Mr Emilio Cacho, a 29-year-old cab driver from the city of Minatitlan in the eastern state of Veracruz, said he began offering his services as a "Pokemon hunter" last Monday and has received more than 20 calls since the start of the week.

"I didn't know about the game, but I heard a lot of talk about people going out to look for Pokemons, so I thought it was a good way to make money now that the economic situation in Veracruz is so difficult," he said by telephone.

He charges 130 pesos (S$9) for the first hour to pursue Pokemons and 100 pesos for each subsequent hour, he said.

Separately, authorities in the Gulf Arab states of Kuwait and United Arab Emirates warned of security dangers to playing the game.

Kuwait's Interior ministry said that users must resist the urge to point camera phones at Pikachu popping out in front of the Kuwaiti Emir's palace, mosques, oil facilities or military bases,

"The danger in dealing with this game is that it involves the user photographing areas nearby with... smart phones which transfer the pictures of the sites to third parties," Kuwait interior ministry undersecretary Suleiman al-Fahd said. - Reuters

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