A major video game distributor in Thailand has vetoed delivery of GTA IV, after a teenager confessed to robbing and murdering a taxi driver while trying to recreate a scene from the game.
"We are sending out requests today to outlets and shops to pull the games off their shelves and we will replace them with other games," said Sakchai Chotikachinda, sales and marketing director of New Era Interactive Media.
"We are also urging video game arcades to pull the games from service."
According to Reuters, an 18-year-old high school student is currently now in custody after robbing and killing a 54-year-oldtaxi driver with a knife at the weekend.
The high school student faces death by lethal injection if found guilty of the murder. Police said that the youth, an ‘obsessive’ GTA player, showed no sign of mental problems during questioning and confessed to committing the crime because of the game.
"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," chief police investigator Veeravit Pipattanasak told Reuters.
The suspect told police he did not mean to kill the driver, whom he had chosen as a possible victim because of his age, but that he stabbed him to death when he fought back, according to Thai newspapers.
A senior official at Thailand’s Culture Ministry said the murder was a wake-up call for authorities to tackle the issue of violent video games, and urged parents to pay closer attention to what their children played.
"This time-bomb has already exploded and the situation could get worse," Ladda Thangsupachai, director of the ministry’s Cultural Surveillance Centre, told Reuters. "Today it is a cab driver, but tomorrow it could be a video game shop owner."