There have been reported incidents of people getting seriously injured while playing Pokémon Go simply because they were not watching where they going. There have also been reported incidents of armed criminals using the game’s location-based features to lure unsuspecting victims into secluded areas (e.g. an empty carpark at night) to rob them.
With this in mind, we would like to warn all those playing Pokémon Go to avoid venturing onto private land while playing the addictive augmented reality mobile game. The game makes use of the phone’s GPS to encourage players to venture outdoors and hunt virtual Pokémon.
Pokémon Go has seen players venture into cemeteries, parks, farms, hospitals and police stations. Some keen players have even been caught hunting Pokémon inside the White House and the Pentagon! While playing it is easy to lose track of your surroundings and wander onto someone’s private land while trying to hunt a Charmander.
While the act of wandering onto someone’s land seems innocent enough, it’s actually an offence in NSW under Section 4 of the Inclosed Lands Protection Act 1901:
“Any person who, without lawful excuse (proof of which lies on the person), enters into inclosed lands without the consent of the owner, occupier or person apparently in charge of those lands, or who remains on those lands after being requested by the owner, occupier or person apparently in charge of those lands to leave those lands, is liable to a penalty…”
The penalty for this offence is $1,100 in the case of a prescribed premises (a Government owned building, school, hospital, child care service or nursing home) or $550 in any other case.
To avoid breaking the law while playing Pokémon Go, we recommend:
Researching the areas you plan on hunting in so as to avoid private land;
Playing with a friend, so as to increase the chance of at least one of you being aware of when you are crossing into private land; and
Asking yourself, is collecting that Bulbasaur really worth a $1,100 fine?