Civil Liberties

Grand Theft Auto (the Game) No Longer Legal in Thailand


From AFP, a standard-issue story in which government officials link video games to crime and then order a crackdown:

Thai authorities banned the Grand Theft Auto computer game on Tuesday, after a disturbed teenager allegedly killed a taxi driver in a copycat crime.

Following news earlier Tuesday that the game's distributor would no longer stock the game, Thai police told AFP they had officially banned it because of "obscene" content.

So far, so good. Police will work with "the Culture Ministry" (brrr) to arrest vendors of the game, who can be put in jail for three years and fined up to $180 dollars (?); online vendors can get five years and a $3,000 fine because it's really vastly more evil to sell things via the intertubes.

But here's the weird part of the story:

An 18-year-old high school student has been charged with robbery and possession of a weapon, and could face the death penalty or life imprisonment if convicted.

Police said the teenager had become incensed when he could not afford to play the game, which encourages gamers to kill and steal cars in order to accrue points.

So he didn't get to play the game and he still pulled off a copycat crime? That's some powerful video game (and it's not even the newest iteration, GTA IV, which hasn't been released in Thailand). The key word at the start of the story is the murderer was disturbed.

More here.

Best Grand Theft Auto quote ever: "Grand Theft Auto…encourages them [children] to have sex with prostitutes and then murder them."—Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), USA Today, July 14, 2005.

Does fantasy violence lead to real-world violence? All signs point to no.

reason on GTA.