Pattaya Daily News

05 August 2008 :: 15:08:28 pm 20655

Bangkok grand Theft auto Obsessive Slaughters Taxi driver in copy-cat Killing

Sales of the video game, Grand Theft Auto IV, were halted in Thailand after a teenager apparently claimed he had killed a taxi driver while trying to recreate a scene from the game. After the 18-year-old, Polwat Chino, confessed to the killing, New Era Interactive, one of the largest game distributors in Asia, ordered all of its stores in Thailand to pull the popular video game from their shelves. The Bangkok police said the teenager apparently "had wanted to find out if it was as easy in real life to rob a taxi as it was in the game."?
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Chino was apparently so incensed that he could not afford to play the ultra-violent computer game Grand Theft Auto, because his civil servant parents didn’t give him enough money, that he robbed a a 54-year-old Bangkok taxi driver and stabbed him to death in his cab in a bloody frenzy, re-enacting scenes from the game. The victim, Kuan Pohkang, from the poor northern province of Maha Sarakham, who was struggling to support his family and pay off bank loans, had been stabbed ten times. Police reported the 18-year-old had told arresting officers that “killing seemed easy in the game”

Police said Chino confessed to having grown desperate for cash to feed the game machine in a Bangkok games store, telling them: “I needed money to play the game every day.” Chino also told police that he had spent eight hours choosing the pair of knives for the attack being inspired by Grand Theft Auto.

The computer video game allows players to adopt the role of an urban criminal and engage in often violent and destructive, and sometimes murderous, crime sprees. “He said he wanted to find out if it was as easy in real life to rob a taxi as it was in the game,” the chief investigating officer, Capt. Veeravit Pipattanasak, told Reuters.

Apparently, late on Saturday night, Phalawat had flagged down one taxi, but thought again about attempting to rob the driver because of the presence of too many witnesses. Instead, he waited for another taxi and then held a knife to its driver’s throat, Khuan Phokaeng, and tried to rob him when they reached their destination in a Bangkok suburb. When Khuan tried to retaliate with an iron bar concealed beneath his seat, Phalawat apparently stabbed him at least 10 times. Chino told police that he had chosen his 54-year-old victim carefully as he believed he would be too old to fight back.

Described by his parents as polite and diligent, Chino was caught on Saturday trying to steer the taxi backwards out of a street in the Bang Phlad district in central Bangkok with the severely wounded driver in the back seat. When police arrived, he was locked in the car, which they said he thought he would be able to drive after using one in the video game. Officers claimed that he had imitated yet another scene in the game, where a criminal fleeing police kills a driver to obtain his car.

The Grand Theft Auto computer game series, created by Edinburgh-based Rockstar North, which has sold about 70 million copies, has been criticized for its graphic depiction of casual violence, drug dealing and prostitution. New Era Interactive Media, the Thai distributors of Grand Theft Auto, has asked shops to withdraw copies from sale and video arcades to suspend the game. “We are sending out requests … to outlets and shops to pull the games off their shelves and we will replace them with other games,” said Sakchai Chotikachinda, the marketing director of New Era.

 

Apparently, three years ago the families of two police officers and a police switchboard operator shot in the US filed a multi-million pound lawsuit in Alabama against the game’s makers and distributors. The victims were shot by another 18-year-old who played the game constantly.Keith Vaz, the British Labour MP who has campaigned against violent games, said: “It is a terrible tragedy that this man has been killed for a small amount of money so that the murderer, a self-confessed Grand Theft Auto addict, could continue to play the computer game.

“Clearly these violent games can have a very serious and negative effect on the people that play them. As this man said, murder seemed so easy in the game.”

Chino, who was taken into custody and charged with robbery, causing death and possessing offensive weapons, faces death by lethal injection if found guilty.

 

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Society

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