Thursday, August 07, 2008

"Grand Theft Auto" Driving Players Crazy...

Click images to enlarge...

In response to a notorious crime, Thai authorities have officially banned sales of Rockstar's "Grand Theft Auto" franchise.

"GTA is banned mainly because of its obscene content -- under the criminal law article 287 that prohibits reproduction, distribution or possession of such material," police spokesman Ruangsak Jaritake told Agence France-Presse.

"The police are empowered to immediately arrest shopkeepers if they find any "GTA" games on sale."

Storekeepers caught stocking or selling a copy of any "GTA" game face a fine and up to three years in prison.

Online retailers face even stricter penalties up to five years behind bars.

According to police reports, 19 year-old Polwat Chino admitted that "GTA" inspired him to steal a cab and kill the driver.

He was arrested after he was caught trying to drive a cab backwards down a Bangkok street with the wounded cab driver slumped in the back seat.

"He wanted to find out if it was as easy in real life to rob a taxi as it was in the game," said Bangkok police Captain Veerarit Pipatanasak.

"We have stopped selling 'Grand Theft Auto' and inform all legal vendors to withdraw the game from their shelves," said the game's distributor.

"The company will not import 'GTA 4' to distribute in Thailand."

The ban comes as Thailand's Culture Ministry has been pushing for stronger regulation of violent video games.

"This time-bomb has already exploded and the situation could get worse," Ladda Thangsupachai, director of the Cultural Surveillance Centre, said.

"Today it is a cab driver, but tomorrow it could be a video game shop owner."

Thailand joins a growing list of countries struggling with the 'GTA' franchise.

Earlier this year, Australia and New Zealand released an edited version of 'GTA IV' to meet regional classification standards.

New Zealand has since rescinded that stance and has released the unedited version game under the strict R18 rating.

As of May 31, "Grand Theft Auto IV" is the best-selling game of the year, pushing over 8.5 million units worldwide...