Pokemon fever is sweeping Pattaya, with Thais and tourists alike scouring the town for Japanese cartoon characters only visible through a virtual-reality mobile phone game.
Players in the online Pokemon Go game meandered through Central Festival Pattaya Beach, their noses firmly planted in their cellphones, Aug. 7. Shoppers had to navigate the mall carefully so as not to crash into players oblivious to the world around them.
Kwanchai Saneeprakornkrai, 42, said he came from his home in Bangsaen to Pattaya just to hunt rare Pokemon characters. Many are found at the mall or even at the neighboring Pattaya Police Station.
The crowd outside the police station baffled officers who at first had no idea why so many people were congregating.
More-industrious hunters of the Nintendo game icons hired motorcycle taxis and baht buses to take them on safari around the area.
The sudden obsession with the game – which has been blamed for deaths around the world due to players being hit by cars and not watching their surroundings – worried some parents who witnessed groups of young teens gathering to play the game into the evening hours.
They urged police to keep an eye out for youths putting themselves in danger with their Pokemon quests.