Insurance broker gives employees day off to chase Pokemon monsters

Taipei, Aug. 9 (CNA) Taipei-based Lei Shan Insurance Broker Co. has joined the Pokemon Go craze, allowing its employees to take a day off Tuesday to chase monsters around Taiwan.

According to Lei Shan, about 300 employees in Taipei were chasing monsters Tuesday morning in Daan Forest Park, one of the Pokemon hot spots in the capital city, and other employees were also trying to pin down virtual creatures in other parts of the country.

Pokemon Go, a hit mobile game worldwide, became available in Taiwan on Saturday to the excitement of Taiwanese game players who had complained previously of being unable to join people in other countries in catching "monsters."

Many Taiwanese players could not wait to download the Pokemon Go app and get started chasing monsters, including Pikachu and Squirtle, the two creatures Taiwanese are familiar with.

Lei Shan decided to give its employees a day off Tuesday to play the game after designating Aug. 6 as "Pokemon Day."

The insurer currently has about 700 employees, consisting of 630 sales agents in the field and 70 office workers at its headquarters in Taipei and five branches in central and southern Taiwan and in the outlying Kinmen County. Lei Shan said it will reward the employees who catch the most monsters on Tuesday, and it is also planning a separate competition in the near future so that its people can further experience Pokemon mania.

There was widespread enthusiasm for chasing monsters after Pokemon Go finally arrived in Taiwan on Saturday, and it boosted activity in commercial circles. Department stores saw customer numbers rise sharply after emerging hot spots for monsters to appear.

The Miramar Entertainment Park, a shopping center in Taipei, said it had nearly 100,000 visitors over the weekend, compared with some 40,000 on previous holidays.

Police in many areas have issued warnings, however, cautioning players to take safety precautions and not enter restricted areas to chase monsters. (By Tsai Yi-chu and Frances Huang)