AFP reports that Thai government officials have now banned the Grand Theft Auto series following the recent arrest of 19-year-old GTA player Polwat Chinno on murder charges.
"The police are empowered to immediately arrest shopkeepers if they find any GTA (Grand Theft Auto) games on sale," Ruangsak Jaritake, a police spokesman, told AFP.
"GTA is banned mainly because of its obscene content — under the criminal law article 287 that prohibits reproduction, distribution or possession of such material," he said…
Any game seller found stocking the game could be sentenced to three years in prison and a fine up to 6,000 baht (180 dollars). Stricter penalties are in place for online sellers who could receive five years imprisonment and a 100,000 baht (3,000 dollars) fine.
It would appear that Chinno was playing an unspecified earlier version of Gran Theft Auto – not GTA IV, given the local Thai distributor’s announcement that it will not import the recently-released game:
The New Era Interactive Media company, the only legal distributor of the games, said earlier Tuesday it would remove the game from sale in Thailand.
"We have stopped selling Grand Theft Auto and inform all legal vendors to withdraw the game from their shelves," the company said in an online statement.
"The company will not import GTA 4 (the next in the series) to distribute in Thailand," it added.