Thursday, August 7, 2008

Thailand Halts Grand Theft Auto Sales After Murder

A Thai video game distributor halted sales of "Grand Theft Auto" on Monday after a teenager confessed to robbing and murdering a taxi driver while trying to recreate a scene from the controversial 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," Sakchai Chotikachinda, sales and marketing director of New Era Interactive Media, told Reuters. "We are also urging video game arcades to pull the games from service," Sakchai said. An 18-year-old high school student, now in custody pending further investigations and a trial, faces death by lethal injdeo 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." The ministry has been pushing for tougher regulation of video games such as Grand Theft Auto, including the imposition of a rating system on sales and restriction on hours that youngsters can play the games in public arcades. A multi-million dollar lawsuit was filed in the U.S. state of Alabama against the makers and marketers of Grand Theft Auto in 2005, claiming that months of playing the game led a teenager to kill two police officers and a 911 dispatcher. The blockbuster Grand Theft Auto games are published by Nasdaq-listed Take-Two Interactive Software.

Video Game Sales

** FILE ** In this April 29, 2008 file photo, a customer rushes in to purchase a copy of the game... Expand

(Paul Sakuma, file/AP Photo)

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