The Thai distributor of Rockstar Games’ Grand Theft Auto IV
has halted sales of the game in the country, after a teenager reportedly admitted to murdering a taxi driver during a recreation of scenes from the game.
New Era Interactive Media has contacted retail outlets with instructions to pull the game from sale, following the arrest of the eighteen-year-old high school student for the knife murder and robbery of a 54 year old taxi driver.
According to the Reuters news service, the youth was an “obsessive player of Grand Theft Auto
” and has already confessed to the murder and to using the game as his inspiration. If convicted he faces the death penalty.
"He said he wanted to find out if it was as easy in real life to rob a taxi as it was in the game," quotes Reuters
of local chief police investigator Veeravit Pipattanasak.
Mirroring many of the same concerns seen in the West, Thailand’s Culture Ministry has recently been advocating stronger regulation of video game sales. Suggestions include a new legally enforced ratings system and a restriction on the number of hours that young people can play in public arcades.