Chinese Army bans Hong Kong's Pokemon Go Players from barracks

Hong Kong: The Chinese army deployed in Hong Kong has warned people searching for Pikachu and other virtual monsters to get out of their premises, as Pokemon Go madness sweeps the smartphone-obsessed city.

The gaming app launched Monday in Hong Kong and saw residents be more gripped by their phones than ever, searching for the cyber creatures in locations ranging from shopping malls to the government headquarters.

The app uses satellite locations, graphics and camera capabilities to overlay cartoon monsters on real-world settings, challenging players to capture and train them for battles.

But the city's ardour to "catch 'em all" has prompted warnings from government departments and even the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) to stay off their property.

The game has prompted increasing concern worldwide over safety, with reports of players straying into restricted areas, being injured or becoming crime victims.

Police also warned residents to be careful when playing the game.

"When you are capturing monsters, stay alert to your surroundings," said a police video posted on Facebook.

Some Pokemon Go players were even robbed after being lured to isolated locations in hopes of catching the virtual creatures, according to US reports. Other distracted players have been blamed for causing traffic accidents.

But the tales of woe and stern warnings have not stopped Hong Kongers becoming hooked on the game after eagerly awaiting its release for weeks, following its launch in Australia on 6 July.

The app has now been launched in more than 40 countries including the US, Japan and much of Europe. Japanese video game company Nintendo started the mythical creature franchise 20 years ago.