Several cities in India have banned PUBG Mobile, and that ban has led to an increasing number of arrests. Indian media outlets have reported at least 16 arrests so far, though it seems many of those arrests are being treated fairly lightly by authorities, as those arrested have generally been bailed out directly by police.
It’s not the first time we’ve heard about police taking action over PUBG, as Chinese authorities arrested many cheat makers starting last year – but this is the first we’ve heard about arrests over just playing the game. As Eurogamer reports, a growing number of Indian cities have banned the game over concerns about addiction and promotion of violence, and the ban also applies to the Momo challenge. (Given that the latter is a hoax, don’t expect many arrests related to it.)
Ten arrests were initially reported in Rajkot by The Indian Express, though police commissioner Manoj Agrawal notes that “it is a bailable offence.” After arrestees have been booked, “they will be shown as immediately bailed out by police. The case will go to the courts and there will be a trial for not following the notification issued.”
Players had their phones seized for investigation. After the arrest of three young men near Rajkot police headquarters, inspector Rohit Raval says “This game is highly addictive and the accused were so engrossed in playing them that they could not even notice our team approaching them.”
After that report, another six people were arrested today – a group “undergraduate students and their young friends who are doing private jobs.” Police inspector Naran Chudasama tells the Indian Express that “They were arrested after we filed a case against him in the early hours of Thursday. Later on, we released them on bail.”
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The ban is reportedly being enforced under section 188 of the Indian Penal Code, which allows a maximum punishment of one month in prison and a small fine.