Thailand Overreacts; Bans Grand Theft Auto Due To Stupid Kid

from the yeah,-blame-the-game-instead-of-the-kid dept

What is it with people wanting to blame technology for crimes rather than the idiots who perpetrate the crimes? The latest is that Thailand has banned the sale of Grand Theft Auto IV after an idiot kid killed a cab driver when he tried to carjack the taxicab. The kid claimed that he was copying a scene from the game, and wanted to see if it was as easy to do as in the game. In other words: “Not my fault! The game made me do it!” And, of course, the government believed this killer, rather than recognizing that it wasn’t the game, but this kid’s own demented brain that was responsible. If it wasn’t GTA IV, it would have been something else. Banning GTA IV isn’t going to stop such violence, but it will give anyone caught for murder a nice excuse about why it’s not their fault.

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Comments on “Thailand Overreacts; Bans Grand Theft Auto Due To Stupid Kid”

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John (profile) says:

What a precedent

Now, anyone can get anything banned just by saying they were influenced by it. Kill a taxi driver because of a scene in, um, “Taxi Driver”? Movie is banned! Kill someone because of a scene in a TV series? TV is banned! Kill someone because of a scene in a comic book? Comics are banned!
Kill someone because someone said it was cool? Talking is banned!

Where does it stop? When do we say that people are responsible for their actions, no matter what kind of influences are out there.

LorMak! says:

Re: What a precedent

Nah man!! You have to understand we as Americans are desensitized to everything..School mass murders occur and a week later we forget it. It’s our fault for being so numb. Most of the rest of the world is not ready for our influence. They are still in a third world state, and do not know how to deal with these things that we experience everyday. Our culture fucks their brains up.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Hrm

And what if I kill someone because a book told me to?

If we murder all the cashiers at Wal*Mart next Sunday (or Saturday if you are Jewish) will the Christian Bible be banned?
Exodus 35:2
“For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day shall be your holy day, a Sabbath of rest to the LORD. Whoever does any work on it must be put to death.”

GTA 4 Says..... just like Simon says says:

So, in theory if I lived in Thailand, and committed said crime, all I have to do is think of where in some media that is was done before and say that made me do it, I wouldn’t have done it if it wasn’t for that media (song, movie, book, video game, web site, TV, its endless). There is something really wrong here. Heaven forbid a kid is really &*$%^ in the head and committed a crime and needs help/punishment, it undoubtedly was the game, I mean, its so obvious, jeezzz….
Just think if the kid read a book about Charles Manson. They really need to re-think this.

DanC says:


You gave the kid an example how not to act in society then cry because he follows it.

This is only applicable if you actually believe the kid’s story. I find it far more likely that the kid simply needed a scape goat for his actions in order to avoid responsibility.

There is a more informative article of the incident here. From the article:

Police quoted Polwat as saying in a statement: “I needed money to play the game every day. My parents give me only 100 baht a day, which is not enough. I am also fed up with them fighting. They are civil servants and do not make good money,” he said.

He said bought two knives with money given to him by his mother and then went to rob a taxi driver, though he did go out with the intention of killing the driver. The killing occurred after the driver reached for a metal bar to defend himself against the robbery.

Sound a little fishy to you? The kid saying he needs money for the arcades to play GTA IV….except it isn’t an arcade game. He’s lying so he can reduce his sentence or claim insanity because he’s facing the death penalty.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Re: GTA IV

The kid saying he needs money for the arcades to play GTA IV….except it isn’t an arcade game.

Yeah… I was originally going to write that as well, but I’m wondering if he meant that he needed to pay for time in an internet cafe or something to play it — which is more common oversears than in the US. Many kids play computer games at internet cafes, so that may have been the situation.

barbunaki says:


Bad examples have been around since times immemorial – think Tom and Jerry banging each other’s head with a hammer. The difference today is that parents don’t take responsibility for educating their kids, and think society – this intangible entity – should take care of it instead. It’s so easier to blame somebody else!

Yes, GTA is not checkers, but it’s up to the parents to decide what the kid should play with or not. If parents are too weak to have their kids obey, well, what about not having kids?

some guy in Asia says:

Well, actually,

Actually, it is not that simple (it is never that simple). The most likely scenario is that the individual in question had developed a tendency for violence and that playing the game was one of the triggers which brought about the expression of that tendency. Really, the argument that it is “only” the perpetrator’s problems that caused the crime and that the game had no role is just as simplistic and two dimensional as saying that it was “only” the game that did it.

Violent games do, as I know as a player of them myself on occasion, bring rise to some of the same emotions (i.e. physiological reactions) as do actual violent situations, though perhaps not as intensely for most of us. If you happen to be overly sensitized, again for whatever reason, the physiological reaction could quite possibly override your cognitive ability to remain rational. One way to check on the verity of this theory would be to statistically compare the rate of crime ascribed to game violence among gamers with the rate of emotionally disturbed people among the general population. Just an idea. But the point is, we really need to read up on the latest cognitive sciences before we make black and white declarations such as the one stated in the post.

Portland Guy says:


I think that the creation, and playing, of video games can, in some way, be considered an “art form”. Isn’t it said that art reflects life, and not the other way around? If this is the case, then the kid would have probably eventually stabbed somebody regardless of whether the video game existed or not.

I think everyone involved in the banning of the game should be slapped, and get a grip on what’s really happening here. It seems like the economic situation in Thailand, and it’s affects on parenting skills should be the focus of what took place.

And as for putting him to death by lethal injection, perhaps a more “GTA” style death would be appropriate in order to truly punish him for his actions. Just my opinion.

Unflappable says:

Not entirely correct.....

There are some merits in your line of argument but it is certainly not devoid of flaws. You are right when you say that it is the kid who is at fault and who needs to be prosecuted. However, it is not right to say that GTA IV had absolutely no role to play in the affair.
But before delving into that, lemme point that that your article is somewhat misleading. I mean, a casual reader of your article may justifiably think that the ONLY response of the Thai Government to the incident was to ban GTA IV and no action was taken against the kid. This is most certainly not true. While I admit I don’t have factual information, it is highly unlikely that the rogue kid was simply allowed to go scot-free. The more probable scenario is that GTA IV was banned in addition to the kid being prosecuted.
Secondly, lemme say that creating provocative products (games, websites, etc) that can have dangerous effects on impressionable minds (now age has got nothing to with this; so the disclaimer saying that such things are meant for an adult audience only is of little practical value) and then washing your hands off the predictably adverse fallout is a very POLITICAL position to take. It does not reflect a genuine problem-solving attitude. Going by your logic, nothing at all should be banned; anything and everything should be permitted, any & every random, devilish output of a demented mind should be allowed to come into the market, because humans are expected to be supremely rational and utterly incapable of being influenced by anything at all. How rational and practical is such an expectation? And to the best of my knowledge, GTA IV is supposedly meant for entertainment purposes only. Now, how can the kind of violence depicted in it constitute entertainment for any normal, sane person? If the creators of the game believe humans can get entertained by violence & gore, can we legitimately take them to be sane and in possession of a stable mind?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Not entirely correct.....

We can be entertained by VIDEO GAME violence and gore. If this were to ever happen in real life I would not be entertained. This is a gray matter issue where there is no black or white, so your argument of looking at is as “nothing should be banned” is kinda ignorant. You decided to take his argument for face value rather than looking at it with some give and take. If you have ever played GTA IV, you would realize how ridiculously unreal it is. No sane person would attempt any of this.

Unflappable says:

Re: Re: Not entirely correct.....

LoL. “Anonymous Coward”; seems my comments have struck a raw nerve with you, though I certainly didn’t intend that to happen. As is obvious from my comment, I intend primarily to discuss the ISSUE; my comments are not aimed at anyone in particular. Nevertheless, lemme reply to a few of the issues you raise.

“This is a gray matter issue where there is no black or white..”
Deja Vu! I’ve seen this line used many times in many different contexts but as always it’s just a poor attempt at obfuscating the issue and making the wrong look as good (or as bad) as the right. As it’s not having the effect you intended, I think we would now be better off ignoring it altogether. 🙂

“ kinda ignorant”
Not sure what ignorance has got to do with this. Probably, you mean I’m ignorant about the fact that one is supposed to get misled by your argument.

“You decided to take his argument for face value…”
Nowhere in my comment have I indicated so. In fact, the very second sentence makes it clear that I consider the kid guilty. No idea how u got this into your head; maybe yet another of your random presumptions…

“No sane person would attempt any of this.”
You have not provided any fact or evidence to support this assertion; again you seem to be pretty quick at jumping to your preferred conclusions! 🙂

Anonymous Coward says:

Violence as Entertainment

Isn’t the attitude that harming others is entertainment simply an extension of the laughter on the shows that feature home videos of people falling or receiving crotch shots? Why do Americans laugh at the misfortune on the show, instead of suck in their breath, cringe, and worry that the victim could have been killed as they would have if it had happened in their own home?
There is a disturbing and growing lack of compassion (which leads to selfish and criminal acts) pervading the culture as a whole, and GTA is more a reflection of it than a cause.

not killing taxi drivers says:


the point here isnt that he blamed it on gta its that he needed more money do do a rec activity… gta isnt the only place he could hear or find out about killing for money. he decided he coulndt live without his game so he killed to get money to fund a habit. what would people have done if he wasnt killing to get money for gta? what if he wanted money for say… pacman at the arcade…. and he saw on the news how someone got stabbed and mugged… and then blamed it on that… how would newsies spin that? can we ban sixty min because they show kids how easy it is to stab someone and steal there car?

NoahN says:

Really now?

The kid faces the death penalty. He isn’t going “GTA made me do it, so I don’t have to face charges” the kid is just messed up, looked at GTA, and said “Hey! Lets try to do it!” The must have been something wrong with him prior to it, but what a lot of the comments here are acting like he is using it as an excuse. Frankly, if some one goes around killing, and says “Well, I did it on GTA” or “I saw it in the movies” then there is something wrong with them, but what they saw/did might have influenced them. I know most people can play violent games with out feeling the need to act them out. A comment before me says “No sane person would attempt any of this”. Correct, but there are a lot of insane people out there. Just keep in mind that
A) The kid (as far as I know) isn’t using GTA as an excuse trying to lessen his charge
B) Some people are insane, and do stupid things when influenced by violence around them.

mcs says:

Not much I can add...

Most of you have hit the nail on the head. To me, this story reminds me of when the movie “the exorcist” came out and the “devil made me do it” excuse was popular. Most people will always find a scapegoat for their actions, because most people feel like they can’t make mistakes. Those are the people who deserve to be shown accountability. Whether it was abuse, rape, racism, mistreatment, lack of attention, etc. people are responsible for their actions and everyone on this planet has freewill. I could care less though what another country does with their lawmaking. Especially a country which is notorious for cross dressing and child prostitution.

TechNoFear (profile) says:

Thai politicians

Like most countries this is about politicians LOOKING like they are doing something worthwhile but not upsetting anyone important.

I spend a few weeks in Thailand each year visiting my sister.

Most Thai’s do not have (powerful) PCs and use internet gaming cafes. GTA disks could be bought in most shopping centers for about 100 THB (~US$3).

Don’t blame the Thais. Thailand is the country where the military leaders went to the king to ask permission to stage a coup. With the king’s OK the coup succeeded with no shots fired.

Blank says:


I agree it is the kids fault but still if they dont do something the game this will just keep happening and that tiny percentage will keep going up im not say to ban this game its really cool but seriously if its that easy to get away with it arent people gonna keep doing it the should at least make a little harder to get weapons. I am a teen so knowing me or any of my friends could go get a kitchen knife kill some1 blame a game and get away with it that really lets me know im in a safe secure area!

mike says:

It is definatly the kids fault. I play the game all the time and yes I think it would be cool to do in real life, but those are thoughts and I have never tried amy of those stunts. One reason is that its crazy and sick to kill someone and you have to live with the guilt of hurting someone. If you even tried driving like in the game, it is suicide and ileagal. So blaming a game for an action you made has given you “thoughts” but the actions you make are on you.

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