BANGKOK A Thai teenager has confessed to
robbing and murdering a taxi driver after trying to imitate
scenes from the controversial "Grand Theft Auto" video game,
police said on Monday. The 18-year-old high school student, now
in custody pending further investigations and a trial, faces
death by lethal injection if found guilty of robbing and
killing a 54-year-old taxi driver with a knife at the weekend.
Police said the youth, an obsessive player of the video
game, showed no sign of mental problems during questioning and
had confessed to committing the crime explicitly because of the
"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," chief investigator
Veeravit Pipattanasak told Reuters.
The youth, described by his parents as polite and diligent,
was arrested late on Saturday after he was found trying to
steer a cab backwards out of a Bangkok street with the severely
wounded driver in the back seat, newspapers reported.
The suspect told police he did not mean to kill the driver,
whom he had chosen as a possible victim because of his age, but
that he stabbed him to death when he fought back, newspapers
"Grand Theft Auto", now available in its fourth edition,
has been criticised for depicting violence including beatings,
carjackings, drive-by shootings, drunk driving and
A senior official at Thailand's Culture Ministry said the
murder was a wake-up call for authorities to tackle the issue
of violent video games, and urged parents to pay closer
attention to what their children played.
"This time-bomb has already exploded and the situation
could get worse," Ladda Thangsupachai, director of the
ministry's Cultural Surveillance Centre, told Reuters. "Today
it is a cab driver, but tomorrow it could be a video game shop
The ministry has been pushing for tougher regulation of
video games such as Grand Theft Auto, including the imposition
of a rating system on sales and restriction on hours that
youngsters can play the games in public arcades.
A multi-million dollar lawsuit was filed in Alabama against
the makers and marketers of Grand Theft Auto in 2005, claiming
that months of playing the game led a teenager to kill two
police officers and a 911 dispatcher.
The blockbuster Grand Theft Auto games are published by
Nasdaq-listed Take-Two Interactive Software.
(Reporting by Nopporn Wong-Anan; Editing by Ed Cropley)