Three Pokemon Go players robbed of phones in London

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London, July 30 (IANS) Days after a group of students was robbed of their smartphones at knife-point in Manchester while playing Pokemon Go, three more teenagers had to face the same fate in London, the media reported on Saturday.

The teenagers were playing the game in Whittington Park in Holloway on Tuesday when apparently armed robbers stole their smartphones at gunpoint, prompting police to warn of the dangers of roaming the streets with expensive mobile phones on show, The Guardian reported.

The victims, aged 15, 16 and 18, were approached by three other teenagers while they were playing the popular augmented reality game.

“One of the alleged robbers, believed to be a 16 to 17-year-old, pointed what appeared to be a handgun at the victims while an accomplice demanded they hand over their devices. The victims handed over their smartphones and left the scene shocked but unscathed,” the police said.

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Safety agencies all over the world have been warning the players of probable safety concerns — both physically and mobile threats — since the time the game broke all records.

According to security software company Trend Micro, Pokemon Go poses a great data security threat to users as the app gets “full access” to their Google account, allowing the gaming company to read all emails.

“Other risks this game exposes are physical risks to actual life and limb,” the report said.

While enjoying the game, the user is exposed to many threats and introduces whole new categories of life risks.

Pokemon Go’s real-world gameplay was linked to armed robberies as criminals have used the game to locate the intended targets.

Also there are reports of trespassing as enthusiastic players try to “find” and “capture” creatures on others’ property. In the US, gamers trespassing on others’ property face a real threat of physical harm from property owners who may use force to protect their property.

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“And of course, there’s the risk of injury or death from not paying attention to your surroundings as you play the game,” the report added.

The augmented reality game was launched in Britain on July 16 and has exploded in popularity since then.

It uses the GPS capabilities of the device in conjunction with Google Maps to place creatures in real world locations, which a player then tries to find using his device as a guide.

Once in proximity to the placed creature, the player needs to use the device’s camera to view the creature and try to capture it.

The Pokemon Go is available on Google Playstore and Apple’s App Store in US, Japan and Australia, the Philippines, New Zealand, Britain and Germany. It is coming soon to India, Singapore, Taiwan and Indonesia.

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