Thailand’s telecoms regulator, the National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commission (NBTC) on Wednesday said it will ban Pokemon Go outright if ‘sensitive’ locations are not removed from the game.
The NBTC said it has given Niantic Inc, the game’s developers until August 17th to comply with the government’s request.
The NBTC issued the warning after officials called for special zoning areas to be introduced that would prevent locations such as hospitals, military bases, government offices and other areas of national security from featuring in the game.
The threat of an outright ban comes as Takorn Tantasith, secretary general of the NBTC on Tuesday met with Thailand’s five telecoms companies, AIS, True, Corp, Total Access Communication Plc and the state owned CAT and TOT to discuss safety and the implications people playing the game could have on landmarks and other locations in Thailand.
Yesterday, Takorn said that executives from True Corp, which holds the master license for all Pokemon content in Thailand will ask Niantic Inc to remove certain locations from the game.
Takorn added that regulators will also discuss introducing limits on the amount of time people in Thailand are able to play the game.
The government’s threat to ban Pokemon Go in Thailand comes as Pokemania continues to sweep through the county, the augmented reality game is dominating news coverage up and down the land.
On Tuesday, soldiers in Khon Kaen province were warned they could be jailed if they are caught playing Pokemon Go instead of marching.
Government officials have been banned from playing the game on state owned premises or during work hours.
Metropolitan police have also warned motorists that they risked being fined up to 1,000 baht if they are caught playing the game while driving.
Thailand’s Airport Rail Link has also told passenger not to play the game while standing on the station platform.
However, a number of private businesses have looked to cash in on the Pokemon Go phenomenon.
In Chiang Mai, a hotel which is set on more than 300 rai of land has posted a notice on its website and social media pages that there are many Pokemon to be caught on its grounds and offered discounts to players for renting bicycles, as well as on food and drink in a bid to get people to visit.
On Wednesday, a travel company launched tours to help people in Phuket catch Pokemon at different locations around the island.