Report: Three Saudi men arrested while hunting Pokemon at airport

Three Saudi men were arrested while playing the popular mobile phone game Pokemon Go at an airport in the kingdom, the Saudi online newspaper Almowaten reported on Wednesday.

The three, in their mid-20s, were referred to investigations for using their smartphone cameras to illegally take pictures in the restricted area of the King Abdullah airport in south-western Saudi Arabia, the paper said, citing unnamed sources.

It was not clear when the incident occurred or what penalty could apply to them.

The Council of Senior Scholars, the kingdom’s highest religious body, this week renewed a 2001 fatwa, or religious edict, that considers the Pokemon game a form of gambling, which is forbidden in Islam.

Sheikh Saleh al-Fozan, a member of the council, said that the current form of the game falls under the same fatwa banning the card version, Saudi newspaper Arab News reported.

The game is not officially available in Saudi Arabia, but many in the oil-rich country are believed to have downloaded the app, according to media reports.

Pokemon Go is a mobile phone reality game that has gone viral since its launch earlier this month.

The game has drawn criticism for prompting players to wander into unsafe areas in order to complete objectives.

Players catch and interact with Pokemon characters that appear superimposed onto real physical locations when viewed through their device's camera, in a technique known as augmented reality.

Pokemon Go says it encourages users to explore their surroundings.

Last update: Wed, 20/07/2016 - 11:30

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