Apple removed police-tracking app

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The maker of the iPhone has removed an app that allowed rioters in Hong Kong track where police are located after reports that it was used to ambush officers and vandalize communities where law enforcement was not present.

The company said in a statement that HKmap.live was removed from its store because the app "has been used to target and ambush police" and "threaten public safety".

Apple (AAPL) chose to take down HKmap.live from its App Store after complaints from several people in Hong Kong, the company said in a statement Thursday.

Apple reportedly only approved the app last week after previously rejecting it.

Apple acted under pressure from various channels, including the Communist Party newspaper People's Daily.

Apple became the latest company to come under pressure to take Beijing's side against the demonstrators when the Communist Party's People's Daily said Wednesday the app "facilitates illegal behavior".

HKmap.live is not the only app to get removed from the App Store.

Although the app has been removed from Apple's store, a website version appears to remain active.

The company told Reuters it made the decision after consulting with local authorities and that the "app violated its rules because it was used to ambush police and by criminals who used it to victimize residents in areas with no law enforcement".

They also claimed that "according to most user reviews" the app had had "IMPROVED public safety, not the opposite".

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The Android version of the HKmap.live is still available in the Google Play store and there's a web version.

Protests in Hong Kong against the local government's proposed extradition bill began in June, and although the bill has been withdrawn, the protests have broadened into calls for the removal of the territory's chief executive, Carrie Lam, and for the establishment of representative democracy.

Apple phone user Canny Ng said Apple's decision was unacceptable and would make her think twice about buying more of the company's technology.

In Hong Kong, users of HK Maps said the application helped them steer clear of police patrols whose riot-control methods and policing during the crisis have been widely decried as heavy-handed, undermining public support for what long was considered one of Asia's best police forces.

The AP was unable to confirm whether the statement was posted by the app's developers.

China is a key area for Apple's business - the mainland is the technology giant's second-biggest market after the United States.

The game is a choice-based story where the protagonist participates in the ongoing Hong Kong protests and can buy protective gear and weapons.

The NBA sports league found itself in hot water after Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted support for the Hong Kong protests.

Many Apple products are also manufactured in China.

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