Rampant Wayfarer abuse in Kiribati

VeIvetRemedy-INGVeIvetRemedy-ING Posts: 23 ✭✭
edited September 24 in General Discussion

Hello Wayfarers, I want to bring to your attention the absolute rampant abuse of Wayfarer in Kiribati. Kiribati is a Pacific Island nation and has the distinction of being the country with the earliest timezone in the world, UTC+14. For that reason, it’s the ideal location for spoofers in Pokemon Go to “visit” to experience special events first. To do that, they have flooded the eastern most island, Kiritimati (or Christmas Island), with dozens of fake waypoints. The most concentrated location is in the village of London, population 1899 (according to Wikipedia). 

Very impressive looking. You wouldn’t expect this sort of density in such a small village. In fact, the capital city of Tarawa, which has a population of over 60,000 only has 4 waypoints. For those who want to play long, here is a link to one of the portals in the middle of that cluster: https://intel.ingress.com/intel?ll=1.985319,-157.475154&z=17&pll=1.985319,-157.475154

My bold prediction is that none of these waypoints are legitimate. Even among waypoints of objects that do exist in this village, their photos are not, being either screenshots of computer monitors or blatantly stolen from old travel reviews and blog posts. So, there are 2 types of fakes: real objects with fake photos, and complete fabrications. I can break down the latter into 2 more categories: fakes I can prove, and fakes I can’t but have no reason to trust their legitimacy.

Outright Fakes:

I’m not going to go over every single waypoint. However, here are some fun highlights. Those who want to verify what I’m saying can click on the portal link, then do a Google Lens search on the image. Either there will be an exact image match with something, or there will be web results with images of the object on that page:

“San Beneditto Church” - https://intel.ingress.com/intel?ll=1.990234,-157.477404&z=17&pll=1.990234,-157.477404: Church in Brazil. Appears to be a photo of a monitor. Here’s a trip advisor link for the attraction: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g780931-d2327833-Reviews-Praia_dos_Carneiros-Tamandare_State_of_Pernambuco.html

“Kilian's restaurant Bar” - https://intel.ingress.com/intel?ll=1.988767,-157.478561&z=17&pll=1.988767,-157.478561: A restaurant in Spain. Here is their Facebook page. There’s even a photo with their logo on the brown wall. https://m.facebook.com/pg/BarRteChicosII/photos/

"Magellan Monument Kavitoki" - https://intel.ingress.com/intel?ll=1.981969,-157.477035&z=17&pll=1.981969,-157.477035: It’s actually on Guam, and the photo is taken from Wikipedia: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Magellan_Monument,_Umatac,_Guam_-_DSC00930.JPG. Here’s another portal of the same monument with a different photo: https://intel.ingress.com/intel?ll=1.989068,-157.470632&z=17&pll=1.989068,-157.470632

"be the change (હેમાંગ-પ્રિયાંક mural)" - https://intel.ingress.com/intel?ll=1.988339,-157.470722&z=17&pll=1.988339,-157.470722: Actually a mural from an art challenge in Indiana, USA https://tippecanoearts.org/project/mural-art-initiative/

"Kiribatie Carving" - https://intel.ingress.com/intel?ll=1.983509,-157.474272&z=17&pll=1.983509,-157.474272: I don't have an exact photo match, but this is from Te Whare Rūnanga in Waitangi, New Zealand https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-maori-meeting-house-marae-image26954414

"Tuvalu National Library" - https://intel.ingress.com/intel?ll=1.985778,-157.473358&z=17&pll=1.985778,-157.473358:  As the name suggests, it's on Tuvalu, not Kiribati. Here is their Facebook post from 2014: https://www.facebook.com/funafutitowncouncil/photos/a.326930210805337/332500316914993/  And, just for some added fun, this exact same fake portal also exists on Tuvalu. Low quality screenshot and all. https://intel.ingress.com/intel?ll=-8.525021,179.194656&z=17&pll=-8.525021,179.194656

"Great Almighty Catholic Church" - https://intel.ingress.com/intel?ll=1.98285,-157.472207&z=17&pll=1.98285,-157.472207:  Branch of the Church of Tuvalu in New Zealand. Photo from here: https://www.metalroofing.org.nz/feature-articles/south-pacific-architecture-captures-qualities-tuvalu-culture

“Blackbutt Reserve walking trail entrance” - https://intel.ingress.com/intel?ll=1.982144,-157.469455&z=17&pll=1.982144,-157.469455: This is from Australia. Blackbutt is a suburb of Shellharbour. No photo for this one; I live in Australia. You can even see the Shellharbour council logo on the sign.

“Statue LOAJANAN VLR” - https://intel.ingress.com/intel?ll=2.011378,-157.405341&z=17&pll=2.011378,-157.405341: This one is from a different part of the island but I wanted to include it here. Check out those white bars on the image. Here’s the source https://airtimeloadup.com/download/23501

"Kiribati Roman Temple" - https://intel.ingress.com/intel?ll=1.984454,-157.474563&z=17&pll=1.984454,-157.474563: In reality, the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_of_Hercules_Victor

And my absolute favourite, the crème de la crème of fake portals:

“Wembley Kiribati Stadium” - https://intel.ingress.com/intel?ll=1.982336,-157.472944&z=17&pll=1.982336,-157.472944:

This one speaks for itself. Photo lifted from here: https://www.visitlondon.com/things-to-do/place/4114851-wembley-stadium-tour


Real Waypoints with Fake Photos or Fake Locations:

Note that with some of these waypoints I have not confirmed the real location of them. Just that they do exist in Kiribati somewhere.

“Old Nippon Cannon” - https://intel.ingress.com/intel?ll=1.988496,-157.479217&z=17&pll=1.988496,-157.479217: Actually on the island of Tarawa. No photo match but here’s a different photo of the same object: https://www.researchgate.net/figure/One-of-the-Japanese-8-inch-20-cm-guns-at-Betio-Tarawa_fig2_232694981

“Christmas Island Post Office” - https://intel.ingress.com/intel?ll=1.989328,-157.478076&z=17&pll=1.989328,-157.478076: Photo lifted from their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=472897851510695&set=a.472897831510697

“Greig Memorial Monument” - https://intel.ingress.com/intel?ll=1.988318,-157.476964&z=17&pll=1.988318,-157.476964: From Tabuaeran, not Kirimati. Stolen from the a Trip Advisor gallery https://www.tripadvisor.com.au/Attraction_Review-g667813-d2426214-Reviews-Fenua_ura-Fanning_Island_Line_Islands.html

"St. Jose Catholic Church" - https://intel.ingress.com/intel?ll=1.983878,-157.476226&z=17&pll=1.983878,-157.476226: The Bakiri Catholic Church on the island of Tarawa. Photo stolen from https://tonywheeler.com.au/kiribati-south-tarawa/

"Blue Catholic Church" - https://intel.ingress.com/intel?ll=1.986068,-157.472657&z=17&pll=1.986068,-157.472657:  Watermark. It's a real church, but in a different village. http://www.globosapiens.net/ecards/st-stanislas-church-in-poland-49642-1.html

"Kiribati Waikiki Playground" - https://intel.ingress.com/intel?ll=1.983652,-157.473648&z=17&pll=1.983652,-157.473648:  Photo yoinked from a TripAdvisor review: https://www.tripadvisor.com/LocationPhotoDirectLink-g294122-d15234388-i446361868-Koakoa_s_Corner-Tarawa_Atoll_Gilbert_Islands.html

“Tabakea Methodist Church” - https://intel.ingress.com/intel?ll=2.017223,-157.485114&z=17&pll=2.017223,-157.485114: Photo from Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tabwakea

Fake Statues and Art

Let’s take a moment to talk about the numerous waypoints of statues and sculptures all around the village. While I couldn’t identify the source of them using Google, many of them appear to be South East Asian in origin, not Polynesian. I’d be willing to bet that none of those statues, such as this one: https://intel.ingress.com/intel?ll=1.985616,-157.476553&z=17&pll=1.985616,-157.476553 are there in real life. Ditto for the close up photos of all the murals dotted around the joint. I would not be surprised if many of these photos are lifted from other portals that exist around the world. Remember when I said I will break down fakes into 2 categories? This is the latter: I can’t prove they are fake, but let’s be honest here. There’s no way any of those are real. Here's another sampling. (While compiling this I found the Otter is a sculpture in Germany https://www.trendhunter.com/trends/bordalo-il)

 Thank you for joining me on this journey and feel free to do you own investigations. Niantic please do something about this, unless you are OK with Wayfarer being abused for the benefit of spoofers. It’s one thing to get flooded with low quality submissions (cough survey markers in Sydney), it’s another for everything to be entirely fake.

Post edited by NianticVK on


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