A few more details have emerged on the alleged killing of a Bangkok cab driver by 19-year-old Polwat Chinno (left), said by Thai authorities to be "obsessed" with Grand Theft Auto.
The Bangkok Post reports:
The Family Network yesterday called on the Culture Ministry to ban the Grand Theft Auto (GTA) video game franchise after incidences of copycat violence by players.
In its statement, the network blamed GTA for at least two violent incidents, including the fatal stabbing of taxi driver Kuan Phokang on Sunday by Polwat Chinno, a 19-year-old student known to be an obsessive player of the game.
GP: It’s unclear at this point exactly what type of organization the Family Network is. The group is mentioned at this site.
According to the Family Network manager Wanchai Boonpracha, a shooting at Talad Thai wholesale market in Pathum Thani last year was also copied from one of the games.
He said the granting of a licence to the online version of the game by the Office of National Cultural Commission in August last year made it readily available at internet cafes and games arcades, increasing the likelihood of copycat crimes by teenagers.
"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.
GP: The GamePolitics coverage of the Pathum Thani market shooting is here. Wanchai Boonpracha is incorrect regarding Australia and England. The game was never banned in the U.K. (perhaps he is thinking of Manhunt 2) and the Australian market received GTA IV with the hooker animations removed.
Amporn Benjapolpitak of the Mental Health Department, doubted that the video game was entirely to blame for Mr Polwat’s behaviour.Ms Amporn yesterday interviewed Mr Polwat’s friends and teachers at school and found that he had suffered from heightened anxiety.
"I don’t think excessive playing of the game is the sole cause. There must be other causes too," she said. "His friends told me that [his personality] had changed."
GP: So, perhaps initial reports of a totally together teen made homicidal by GTA were not totally accurate? A second Bangkok Post article contains additional misinformation under the headline Games of Subversion:
The Public Health Ministry, which has monitored the impact of thse games on the mental and physical health of young Thais, yesterday released a list of 10 online games which have been banned in the United States since last year because of their inappropriate content…
They are: Manhunt; Scarface; 50 Cent: Bulletproof; 300: The Video Game; The Godfather; Killer; Resident Evil 4; God of War; Hitman: Blood Money; and Grand Theft Auto.
GP: There has never been a video game banned in the United States.