Participants in London watergun 'assassination' game could face arrest
By SARAH BALL
Associated Press Writer
LONDON- Participants in a citywide watergun game could face criminal charges from law enforcement patrolling London's subway stations, police said Monday.
Players of "Street Wars: London" - a role-playing game with up to 150 men and women acting as water snipers for three weeks - could face punishment for acting suspiciously or inciting panic in Underground stations, which last year were the targeted by suicide bombers.
The tournament, which begins Tuesday, supplies "attackers" - many of whom are lawyers, businessmen and other professionals by day - with a photograph and two addresses for their intended victim, who they must eliminate from the game by shooting with a water gun.
Players must make at least one "assassination" attempt per week, according to the rules, posted on the game's Web site. "That means going out and actually trying to smoke someone. Just stalking and giving up does not count as an attempt," the rules say.
Strategies provided by the game's New York-based founders include night stalking or dressing up as a delivery man.
Police say, however, that encouraging suspect behavior is reckless - especially in London's Underground system, where memories are still vivid of the July 7, 2005, transit system bombings, which killed 56 people, including four suicide bombers.
"This is a time when we've asked our staff to be vigilant against terrorists, and we've asked the public to be vigilant against terrorists," said Simon Lubin, spokesman for the British Transport Police.
"If you've got people acting suspicious and stalking other people, possibly using things that could be mistaken for weapons, then it really is not a good idea," Lubin said.
After successfully spraying a victim with the water gun, a player inherits that person's designated victim - and so on until there is only one player left.
A cash prize - about US$500 (euro400) - is the ultimate reward for eliminating all opponents and "surviving" through the tournament's end on Aug. 15.
The game's Web site said tournaments have already been held in New York, Vienna, San Francisco and Los Angeles, among other cities.
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