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New Zealand bartender quits job to become Pokemon hunter

Sanjay Nair

The Straits Times/Asia News Network

Singapore  /  Mon, July 18, 2016  /  11:11 am
New Zealand bartender quits job to become Pokemon hunter

The illustration of Pokemon Go. The augmented-reality game is planned to be launched in Europe and Asia. ( Corley /-)

As the Pokemon Go game reaches new levels of obsession and popularity worldwide, a man in New Zealand has decided to quit his job to "catch 'em all" full-time.

Mr Tom Currie, 24, quit as a barista and bartender at a seaside restaurant near Auckland to focus on a two-month country-wide tour hunting for digital monsters on his mobile phone, BBC reported.

Mr Currie has booked 20 bus trips around New Zealand and, in less than a week, has already visited six South Island towns.

So far, he has captured 90 of the 151 Pokemon released on the augmented reality game, which uses GPS location data to allow players to roam the real world and catch virtual monsters.

Admitting his parents were "a little bit baffled" at first by his decision to leave his job, Mr Currie is relying on friends and family for financial aid.

"I wanted to have an adventure," Mr Currie said. "I have been working for six years and I was desperate for a break. And Pokemon gave me the chance to live that dream."

"My dad sent through a text message saying he always knew I would be famous."

Mr Currie's adventure has earned him media fame, with transport companies even offering to take him to remote parts of the country to hunt for rare Pokemon.

He has also received messages of support on Facebook from across the globe, including India, Canada and Ireland.

"Tom is a very spur-of-the-moment, independent kid, he always has been," his mother, Tania Dobbs, is quoted as saying by The Guardian.

"His nana and I don't understand the game but I remember him loving it in his childhood. I am just glad he is out enjoying his life and seeing so much of New Zealand. I back him 100 per cent."

To his parents' relief, Mr Currie plans to return to work once his Pokemon excursion is over.

He said: "When I finish the trip and get back to Auckland, I will be looking for work and working on my new business. And of course still catching Pokemon."

Not everyone is having fun while playing the game, however.

In Columbia, Missouri on Sunday (July 17), five men aged between 18 and 24 were robbed by a gun-wielding group as they walked around looking for creatures.

Two days earlier in Manchester, three students on Pokemon hunts were also robbed at knifepoint of their mobile phones.

Police have advised players to pay attention to their surroundings, especially in built-up areas.

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