South Koreans Flock to Remote Northern Area to Catch Pokémon

Nintendo’s Pokémon Go, the biggest mobile game in U.S. history with 21 million daily active users, is making people search for Pokémon in some really inappropriate places around the world. According to a recent report by The Guardian, South Korean Pokémon Go players have been forced to leave their home towns and flock to a remote city close to the North Korean border in order to play because of the country’s mapping restrictions.

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The source explains that South Korean security restrictions on mapping data have blocked Google from providing map features across a significant proportion of the country. “Due to government restrictions on maps data, it’s impossible for Pokémon Go to work properly using Google Maps service in South Korea,” said a person familiar with the matter. However, a city called Sokcho located close to the border with North Korea, has not been classified as a South Korean territory and therefore has the mapping data required to make Pokémon Go work.

One user posted on an internet message board: “I didn’t go to some big tourist attraction; all I did was walk around for tens of kilometres to play a game. But I’m more satisfied with this than any other trip. I would still be in Sokcho had it not been for an urgent issue.” Bus tickets from the capital, Seoul, to the city have sold out, according to reports.

Sokcho, which sits on the eastern coast adjacent to the Seoraksan National Park, has been quick to capitalise on its unusual status, sharing maps of free Wi-Fi areas and advertising itself on social media as “the only Pokémon Go holy land on the peninsula”.

Pokémon Go is yet to be officially launched outside of Australia, New Zealand and the US, with Niantic struggling to meet the server demands of existing players. Luckily, our simple workaround can help you download it in Canada right now.