Report: Thai Teen Robs, Kills Cabbie in Effort to Recreate Grand Theft Auto IV

A story receiving widespread media play this morning details the arrest of a 19-year-old Thai man who allegedly robbed and murdered a Bangkok cab driver. According to police sources, Polwat Chino told investigators he was re-enacting a scene from Grand Theft Auto IV.

Reuters reports that GTA IV has been removed from retail shelves and arcades (we’re assuming that in Thailand players can play console games for a fee). From the article:

Police in Bangkok said that the youth "had wanted to find out if it was as easy in real life to rob a taxi as it was in the game."


…Chino, described by his parents as polite and diligent… had paid to play the game at a local shop in Bangkok, and said he had needed more cash to continue playing it and that the taxi driver looked like an easy target.

GP: So, was he re-enacting a scene from the game or just looking for someone to rob? Reuters continues:

A senior official at Thailand’s Culture Ministry, which has been pursuing tougher regulation of violent games such as Grand Theft Auto, said the murder was a wake-up call for authorities, and urged parents to take note of what their children were playing.


"This time-bomb has already exploded and the situation could get worse," the official was quoted as saying. "Today it is a cab driver but tomorrow it could be a video game shop owner." Thai authorities have been pushing for a rating system on video games, as well as restrictions on how long youths can spend playing games in video arcades.

GP: Given the Thai government’s history of censorship, this case will likely not receive the type of media scrutiny and follow-up that it deserves. Not to rush to judgment, but the situation as described in the news report (including the very convenient photo at left of the suspect re-enacting his crime for police) couldn’t be more perfect for a government seeking a justification for a video game crackdown.

We also note that the suspect, who reportedly stabbed the victim 10 times, is wearing what appears to be a very clean white shirt (i.e., no blood). Stab someone ten times from arm’s length and closer and you’re going to get blood on your clothing. And yes, he could have changed clothes, but we don’t really know.

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  1. 0
    oto kirlama says:

    Gallagher can araç kiralama say all he wants, but I strongly rent a car believe it’s due to his crappy leadership and E3 being a joke. ESA’s Board of Directors need to find a way to get out rent a car of this horrid contract with this Bush cronie before there’s no one left on the Board.

    Btw, I think Atari and Midway will drop out too, but mostly travesti because  these guys have done nothing ttnet vitamin or little and need to start saving costs.


  2. 0
    Anonymous says:

    Because clearly, the most dangerous thing to teenage boys in Thailand is video games, and not.. oh, say… sex tourism.

    Jack strikes me as the kind of guy who would lube his son’s little cornhole and send him to a "massage parlor" for a few days.

  3. 0
    jadedcritic says:

    What, he’s suing because nobody apologized?  He’s lucky nobody took that email address before EZK deleted it and signed him up for every spam and porn bot this side of the mississippi.

    I must admit, he’s right about one thing.  I don’t trust Strauss Zelnick. Dennis is different.  I don’t agree with him on at least a few subjects, but he’s shown a remarkable amount of patience just dealing with JT all these years.  Imagine,  must be like a kidney stone that won’t pass.  That, I respect.

    Every so often I actually get tempted to sit down, make an effort to try to clear my mind, and read JT’s book.  Must be like reading Nietsche or Machiavelli.  You know, somewhere in there he’s gonna say something that’s gonna tick you off, but you try to read it anyway if only to broaden your mind.

  4. 0
    Shoehorn O'Plenty ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    "but he didn’t know how to drive"

    BUt how? He was playing Grand Theft Auto, most of the game revolves around driving and playing these games is supposed to enhance your skills, just like teaching you to expertly use a gun! Just ask Jack Thompson!

    The taxi must have broken down, that’s it. I mean, there’s no way someone who has played a driving videogame would not know how to drive! /sarcasm

  5. 0
    NovaBlack says:

    thanks for all the info Thai gamer really appreciated!

    cant believe they said GTA is banned in australia and UK. it REALLY isnt.

    that list of top 10 most ‘dangerous’ games is laughable. i mean.. 50 cent.. wtf

  6. 0
    Thaigamer says:

    Thailand have practically no rating systems on video games or movies at all so a 9 years old can buy any 18+ games or movies also if there are rating it will have no effect on PS3 games because are all imported by either the shop themselve or via a third party import and most ps2 and XB360 games are pirated anyway so the rating will pointless

  7. 0
    Andy says:

    Thank you for the info Thai gamer, which clearly shows that the Thai government has no clue about games and gamers at all.

    Out of interest what ratings system does Thailand use and who can buy mature games? Cheers in advance.

    I would also agree that GTA is being used here as a scapegoat for political ends-a 19 year old clearly should know the difference between right and wrong and so if he thinks stabbing a taxi driver is right he is fully accountable for his own stupid actions.


    Blaming a game when he committed the crime is pathetically laughable-ratehr like JT asking for an ‘apology’ (can’t wait for his disbarrment 😀 )



  8. 0
    Vacationing Thai says:

    I’m currently on a vacation here in Thailand. I heard this as a newsflash on the radio. This is what the newscaster said about the case:

    Apparently he wanted to see if it was as easy to get money and steal a car in real life as it was to in GTA. He waved down 2 taxis. There were too many potential witnesses in the area when the first taxi came, so he moved to a more secluded spot. This time when the taxi came he stabbed the cabbie and killed the man. After he pocketed the 1000 baht the found on the dead cabbie he put the body into the back seat. He then attempted to drive away in the taxi, but he didn’t know how to drive and was eventually caught by the police. By the way, he was reported to have been covered in blood when he was caught.

  9. 0
    DeepThorn ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Dang, I wish he was a couple years younger so he wouldnt be an adult.  I want to see parents put in jail for their kid’s actions.  (cough NY report recently) 

    I say if the kid is 17 or younger, parents should have to go to jail with the kid for a year if the sentence is more than 5 years, if both parents go, then 6 months each if they didn’t take actions to control their kid. (therapy, medication, military school, and so on)  Scare parents into parenting their kids, or not having them in the first place.  Then if it is under 5 years, then 1/5 of the sentence their kid has. (Have them allowed to go in on weekend, and work during the week days, then if they don’t keep to a schedule agreed upon with a judge/jailers then they can get the amount of their time not there added. [responsibility tough the tough way])

    Okay, maybe that is extremely overboard, but it would definitely be something good to do to some of these kids and their lazy parents.

  10. 0
    Steve ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Now now … let’s not paint ourselves as victims of some imaginary persecution here. You can still play video games, talk about them, buy them, sell them, etc.

    I’d say that it pretty much is accepted now, bar a few Neo-Luddites. Relax, mate, you’ll live longer :)

  11. 0
    JustChris says:

    The last thing one more crime should do is make the laws more oppressive. This crime is nothing new or truly disturbing, as stated. What I would guess is ban the game for everyone since 19-year olds would be unaffected by ratings rules.

  12. 0
    DarkTetsuya says:

    I can already hear it now:

    "Yes I’d like two round-trip tickets to Thailand? My name? Jack Thompson."

    Then again, I dunno how he’d afford it on ‘washed-up lawyer’ salary.

  13. 0
    Anonymous says:

     Yes, but in the news here the "so called" experts are refering  GTA as an "computer online game" and keep getting it mixing up with other MMO games that the internet cafe provided and they can’t really enforce the rating because the retailers will sell to anyone with money and most cops do take bribe.  

  14. 0
    gamepolitics says:

    couldn’t they have consoles & TV’s in what they are calling "arcades"? I’ve seen that in at least one Internet cafe near my home in PA.

    Dunno… but the whole story raises a lot of questions…

  15. 0
    mogbert says:

    Ratings wouldn’t have done anything in this case. The guy has been of legal age since GTAIV has been released. Pretty much what you have is a thug who got caught. You are going to have thugs in a world with or without video games.

    Also, I don’t think this guy is much of a gamer. What he did was stupid ever for someone who has no value in human life. It makes poor sense in a risk/reward scenario. A murder is a big risk and the amount of money he is carrying is very little reward. Gamers usually have a better sense of risk/reward, in my opinion. He could be just a really stupid gamer.

    If everything in this story can be taken at face value then I think he was just another stupid thug with the "my parents didn’t love me enough" defense. He would have killed the cabby even if the game never existed.

  16. 0
    LAG (Law Abiding Gamer) ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Point of correction I believe Dennis.  The current Thai government is not a military government.  There were elections held late last year, and the current PM was elected in rather sketchy circumstances (allegations of vote buying).  The vote buying was apparently not instigated by the former military rulers.  Ironically, the current PM, who is not currently very popular with the people, is an old friend of former PM Thaksin Shinawatra who was ousted by the military junta in a bloodless coup in 2006.  He has been accused of restarting the bloody "vigilante" type justice that Thaksin was accused of during his early years, with thousands of citizens "disappeared" under allegations of illegal drug sales, so the reported "facts" surrounding this arrest do seem a bit dubious.  Maybe we’re seeing some PR work to show him as a friend of the people?  It’s the kind of crap that Thaksin pulled to keep himself in office.

    Someone please correct me if I’m wrong here, but the "other half" of my family is Thai so I try to keep current on things there. 

  17. 0
    Artifex says:

    This could easily be the Culture Ministry distorting the truth to suit their own goals. For a crime to happen like this, and to see the Thai government was all too ready, and so very quick, to remove GTA from all stores is just too convienient.

    Tinfoil hat or not… it certainly wouldn’t be the first time the Thai government has done that sort of thing, and I strongly doubt it will be the last (if it is.) But, as GP pointed out, we will likely never know one way or the other due to the stranglehold the government has on media outlets.

  18. 0
    Dave ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I sent this story along to Dennis this morning via email, citing the article from BBC Tech, but this coverage is a lot more detailed and well-researched. Good job, Dennis.

    This story is pretty upsetting. I mean, you can’t get much more of a cold cut case against a game than this, even though the whole thing is totally ridiculous. 

    Interesting conspiracy theory comments at the end there, too.

  19. 0
    Anonymous says:

    I live in Thailand and I can tell you that kid want money to spend in the internet cafe and the last time I check GTA IV doesn’t come out on PC yet. So as far as i concerned the government and the media just looking for something to pick on


  20. 0
    Anonymous ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    haha, God of War, I’m going to have sex with females and slice up people with swords on a chain that has elemental powers of fire that follow the path of the weapon….   and monkeys fly out of my butt.

  21. 0
    Thai gamer says:

     First of all the government and the police don’t know anything about games so they just pick on games to win the vote from the anti games people because they will dissolve the parliament soon.  Second of all thy say that GTA is "an online game" and getting it mixed up with other MMO and GTA 4 is already out on PC already, Lastly even if all the GTA are ban you can still be able to get the pirated version and there are no publisher in Thailand who publish GTA on PS3 so all GTA 4 here are imported 


  22. 0
    HarmlessBunny says:

    The only danger 50 Cent Bulletproof and the 300 game my contain would be to educate the Thai citizens that celebrity and movie tie in games are TERRIBLE!

  23. 0
    Thai gamer says:

     Top 10 most dangerous games according to the Government.

    1.GTA  2. Manhunt  3. Scarface  4. 50 Cent : Bulletproof  5. 300 : The Video Game  6. The Godfather

    7.Killer 7  8. Resident Evil 4 9. God of War  10. Hitman : Blood Money  


    "The Family Network demands the Culture Ministry revokes the licence of GTA and other games with inappropriate violent and sexual content" Mr Wanchai said in the statement.


    He said that GTA was banned in several countries, including Australia and England.

    Tuesday August 05, 2008  BANGKOK POST AND REUTERS

    since when the game are ban in UK and Australia?

  24. 0
    Shadow Darkman Anti-Thesis of Jack Thompson says:

    Oh, and fuck the rules, too. We are NOT Anonymous. If Anonymous attempts to invade, well, we can always sick Jack on them.

    They cannot hide.

    We are among them.

    They will expect us.



  25. 0
    sheppy says:

    I… I… I’m flabberghasted.  I wasn’t making an all encompassing statement to females in general but in my personal experience, the larger a person gets, the angrier and hungrier they get.  Comedy ensues, we have a giggle over a pint and all that.

    I do have to say this response is fairly shocking to me, especially after being called everything under the sun with enough F-Bombs to make Dennis Leary say, "Would you stop with the cussing, already?"  I mean, hell, I figured after the crap I ate in one of the Pegi stories, nothing was taboo anymore and I could lovingly suggest someone _______ their ______ with a _______ and ________ scrubbing_______ big tobacco _______ muppets _______ and broomsticks, and I would get nary a nudge nor tickle.  Apparently there is a line.

    *makes note*

  26. 0
    Steve ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Thanks for the info … although, if I may, I would like to rephrase my point:

    Most people are not informed. About a great many things. Most people don’t give a shit, either, yet they have the same equal say in society’s direction as someone like me, who is arguably more informed and passionate.

    That’s not to say that I’m right, but rather that I’m making an effort.

  27. 0
    Zevorick says:

    Do you know how the bell curve works? Better yet, do you know what a Standard Deviation is? If you don’t then you don’t know what you’re talking about. The "bell curve" ( which should be called a "normal distribution"), in regards to IQ (which only is a CORRELATIONAL indicator of school performance, not intelligence btw), by its very nature exists on the fact that 68% of the population is within one standard deviation (15 points) of each other. So the average persons iq will more than not be somewhere within 85-115. Approximately 97.25% of the population will be within 70-130, and 99.25% will be within 55-145.

    Realistically, the profoundly retarded are less likely to vote than the profoundly intelligent. Let’s not forget those who are unmotivated to vote and assume the correlation between motivation and intelligence holds true. This would mean the average IQ would probably be somewhere around 105-110. This is all speculation mind you, but I just felt it needed to be pointed out.

    I know, I know, not relevant to the story. I just hate seeing ignorance here when it can be helped. 😉

  28. 0
    Krono says:

    That the Electoral College is outdated and needs reform – occasionally causing someone to just barely lose the popular vote, but win the electoral vote – isn’t the same as the leader not being voted in by the people. The leader not being voted in by the people is something along the lines of say… the military taking over and appointing the head of government.

    And as much as we may dislike it, Bush did beat Gore in Florida back in 2000. Even though the courts cut things short at the time, all the recounts still have Gore coming up loser.


  29. 0
    Krono says:

    Thailand’s government hasn’t done those particular things, as it’s only been around for a year or so at this point. It has however, continued the local tradition of heavy censorship. In short if they had, they’d step on the press to keep anyone from hearing about it. Meanwhile the US government can’t do much to keep the press from talking about what it’s done.

    So no I’m not on a high horse, the fact of the matter is they aren’t all equally bad. For an additional example, the US has a fine tradition of elections changing who holds the reigns of power. Thailand has a fine tradition of coup d’états changing who holds the reigns of power. I dare say the former is a vast improvement over the later. 


  30. 0
    Steve ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    AND … as far as I know, Thailand’s government has never lied to its citizens to get their support in invading Iraq. Or Afghanistan. And that’s just the recent stuff.

    Get off your high horse, mate. They’re all as bad as each other.




  31. 0
    Chuma-STILLNoWordWhyHisUserNameRequestHasntWorked ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Actually, that comment raised my eyebrows too Dennis.  Any police officer worth his or her salt would know to take clothing as evidence especially if it has blood splatter on it.  they are hardly going to "recreate the crime" with him wearing the bloody shirt for all to see now are they?  That’s just common sense.

  32. 0
    Krono says:

    To be fair, he does have a point about it being a somewhat conspiracy theorist example. It’d makes sense that they’d get him cleaned up before having him do something for them. If nothing else it’d make sense to take his clothes as evidence. Since you can’t really having him reenact the crime for the cameras while buttnaked it kinda obligates them to give him clean clothes.

    Still, it’s not like that makes the rest of the story unsuspect.


  33. 0
    Steve ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Good point. Although – what if the military turns out to be right?

    Would you support a government elected by more enlightened people (don’t get me wrong; I am not saying that the military was right – this is just a thought experiment) if it meant giving up your vote?

  34. 0
    Steve ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Yeah … except the leader of the people isn’t voted in by the people. You may think they are, but they aren’t. See "Electoral College". Also George Bush v. Al Gore and Florida.

    One other thing – given the bell curve of IQ in a society (more unintelligent people than intelligent), is choosing a leader based on largest number of votes really such a good idea?

  35. 0
    macthorpe says:

    I’d take that bet. No offense to him, but I don’t think he cares about Thailand.

    Bigger fish to fry, and all that.

    "I’m busting chops today. You can ask anyone."

  36. 0
    sheppy says:

    I wouldn’t say Jack Thompson wouldn’t grab this quicker than a fat bitch seeing a candy bar on the sidewalk.  After all, let’s not forget he’s constantly used Germany shooters to back his arguement and game bans in Australia without the knowledge of why games were banned there in many a Fox News interview.  He’s paying very close attention to this and I bet you, GP will receive an email before the end of the day.

  37. 0
    Shadow Darkman Anti-Thesis of Jack Thompson says:

    W00T! At last, a First Reply! (Do it, EZK. I fucking DARE you. ) Anyway, to business.

    "But this just makes Video Games look bad."

    I bet you five Jack Thompson will be all over this like a hooker on a client.



    EZK: Yeah, if you want to be this pathetic, go for it.

  38. 0
    Jim ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    But this just makes Video Games look bad. "Oh GTA made me do it". Do these people really think that statement will actually get them a free pass out of jail? Its just used loosely as an excuse to try and get a lesser charge or insanity plea, meanwhile making games look bad. Getting real old and frustrating.

  39. 0
    Anonymous says:

    Even if they didn’t allow him to change, we don’t see any of the front or left side of his shirt. Depending on how he stabbed the guy we’re not going to see it on his back or right sleeve.

  40. 0
    Anonymous says:

    The bit about the clean white shirt is entering tinfoil hat territory. One would assume that if they caught him in the clothes he wore at the incident, they would allow him to get cleaned up and changed before doing any sort of reenactment.

  41. 0
    Anonymous Thai says:

    Even if it was banned, you can still get a pirated one straight off big IT shopping centers at a lower price, essentially making the ban rather useless…

  42. 0
    Jim Strathmeyer ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Blah blah blah kids blah blah blah rating system. How much text did they think I would have to read before forgetting that the man was 19 year old? Aren’t these people even pretending to be competent?

  43. 0

    ??? WHAT THE HELL???? This is complete bullshit! The fucker killed the guy for his fucking money! I wanted to see how easy it was to throw the blame on a fucking plastic disk.


    -Entertainment isn’t the reason the world sucks. It’s the reason we know the world sucks. For information on games and psychology, look up: Jonathan Freedman(2002)Block & Crain(2007)Grand Theft Childhood, by Harvard researchers Larry Kutner&Cheryl Olson

  44. 0
    NovaBlack. ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    he ‘wanted to find out if it was as easy in real life to rob a taxi as it was in the game’…

    right.. so that makes it the games fault. So if i am aged 19 (an adult) and ‘want to find out if it is as easy in real life to fly, as it is in a superman game’ and throw somebody off a building, then thats the games fault?

    riiigghhttt…. because at 19 i cant understand the difference…

    And what i dont get is this… EVEN IF he GENUINELY did commit the crime FOR THAT REASON  (i actually believe the motivation was far more likely robbery for money etc) , it doesnt make him not responsible for his actions. he still went through the thought process, which at some point must have registered ‘this is wrong’ and did it anyway. The game didnt wipe his brain into thinking it was ok. he still KNEW it was wrong. i can WONDER what its like to do anything i want. Doesnt mean because ive imagined doing it, that somehow makes it ok..’, and me not responsible for my actions.

    If i tell you ‘hey this totally isnt real but stick your hand in the fire and it wont hurt’

    it doesnt alter the fact that

    a) you know it will hurt or

    b) if you stick your hand in the fire its YOUR fault for doing so, not mine. You cant blame me.




  45. 0
    ooftygoofty says:

    I don’t remember any missions involving robbing taxis in GTA.  Stealing the taxis themselves, yes, but that doesn’t seem to be what he was trying to do.

  46. 0
    Matriculated says:

    We’re talking about a country that had it’s military overrun every TV station in the land in order to prevent "negative opinion polls"; what do you expect?

  47. 0
    Anonymous says:

    He wanted to know how easy it was to rob a taxi driver?  Well now he knows.

    This is a very sad case with no good news.  A man is dead becuase of another person’s lack of respect and inability to value life, and while justice maybe served, it’s probably going make things just slightly more repressive.

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