A Thai video game distributor has stopped selling Grand Theft Auto, after a local teenager went on a self-confessed GTA style murder and robbery rampage.
The 18-year old high school student, who’s now in custody, recently robbed a taxi driver and stole his car, but ended up stabbing the 54-year old driver to death when he fought back with the teen.
The Thai teen reportedly told police that he wanted to see if it was as easy to rob a taxi in real life as it was in the video game.
Distributor New Era Interactive (NEI) has since halted sales of GTA and, according to a Reuters report, is urging “outlets and shops [in Thailand] to pull the games off their shelves”.
It’s not clear if NEI wants the entire GTA series pulled from shop shelves, but Grand Theft Auto: IV, the latest title in the series, is likely to be the firm’s focus.
Ladda Thangsupachai, director of Thailand's Cultural Surveillance Centre, jumped on the GTA style murder as an opportunity to criticise violent video games. “This time-bomb has already exploded and the situation could get worse,” Thangsupachai said, adding that “today it is a cab driver, but tomorrow it could be a video game shop owner”.
GTA has come under fire the world over for its supposedly violent nature, but this isn’t the first occurrence of a GTA-style crime. Back in June, a group of five US teenagers that went on the rampage in Nassau County, New York told police afterwards that they were acting out scenes from the GTA game series.