First Singaporean to catch all 145 Pokemon admits getting help from overseas friends

Mr Terence Ho, 39, out hunting Pokemon. He claims to be the first in Singapore to have collected all 145 Pokemon.
Mr Terence Ho, 39, out hunting Pokemon. He claims to be the first in Singapore to have collected all 145 Pokemon.PHOTO: TERENCE HO

SINGAPORE - Mr Terence Ho claims to be the first person in Singapore to capture all 145 Pokemon, just 10 days after the game Pokemon Go was released here.

Two others had reportedly completed the feat: Mr Ahmed Ali, 23, from London and Mr Nick Johnson, 28, of New York.

But some Pokemon Go players are not happy at the way Mr Ho did it.

Mr Ho,39, caught almost all the Pokemon by travelling within Singapore, to places including Sentosa and Punggol.

He walked and waited from 8pm till the wee hours of the night to find or evolve them, he told The Straits Times.

He showed The New Paper, which interviewed him on Wednesday, a live video of his Pokedex as proof.

However, there were four rare Pokemon which were specific to a continent, and he asked friends overseas to catch them for him by logging into his account.

For example, a friend in Sydney helped him with Kangaskhan, which is found only in Australia and New Zealand.

While some netizens said he cheated, Mr Ho told The Straits Times that this was a "grey area".

Players use all ways and means to get an edge in the game, he said, and this was one "creative" way of solving a problem.

He got the idea when he saw a woman borrow her boyfriend's phone to play the game when her phone ran out of power.

To travel to other countries to get the rare Pokemon would require time and resources he did not have, he said.

"I just wanted to complete it, and have closure, then move on to do other things. I won't spend thousands of dollars on a game," he said.

He did not fool the app into thinking he was in another location by using "GPS spoofing" - a way of cheating which may get the player banned from the game, he said.

He did, however, spend up to six hours at a stretch walking between 10km and 15km to get his Pokemon. He also took taxis to get to places further away.

Mr Terence Ho taking a selfie while playing Pokemon Go. PHOTO: TERENCE HO

The app developer once stayed up till 3am to catch a rare one that he sighted at Bishan Park, he said. (He did not get the Pokemon that night.)

He also spent about $150 on in-app purchases such as lures, incense and lucky eggs. Lures and incense helped to attract Pokemon to where the player was, while lucky eggs helped him gain experience points.

Mr Ho used only one mobile phone, and a power bank, he said.

He also made sure he read up on news and tips online and on a news mobile app - SG News Library - which he developed himself.

While not a Pokemon fan before, Mr Ho's interest was piqued when the game was launched in the United States.

He read up about it and set up a Pokemon Singapore Facebook page in anticipation that the craze would reach Singapore.

Since he collected all the Pokemon, he has cut down on playing time, he said. He is waiting for six legendary Pokemon - Ditto, Articuno, Zapdos, Moltres, Mewtwo and Mew - to be released by Niantic, the company that developed the game.

For those still on their quest for the 145, he said that he finds incense and lucky eggs the most cost-effective tools.

His favourite place for Pokemon hunting is Sentosa, as the resort island has many rare Pokemon, he said. That was where he found Pikachu and Raichu, both highly sought-after Pokemon.

Mr Ho hopes that those who are accusing him of cheating don't take the game too seriously.

One Facebook user named Stan Jon said: "I am not sure if he feels any sense of pride of self achievement. I will equate it to sport doping."

But Mr Ho says: "If the CEO of Niantic say that it's cheating, then I'll apologise for being a bad example. But it's just a game."