Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Thai Government Turns Against Video Games



Video game repression has surged in Thailand following last month's killing of a taxi driver by a 19-year-old man who told police he was re-enacting Grand Theft Auto.

Jesada Chandraprasert (PHOTO), who pens Cnet's Technology Thailand blog, reports this morning that five games have been officially banned by the Ministry of Culture:

  • Hitman
  • 300
  • Killer Seven
  • Hitman: Blood Money
  • Fifty Cent: Bullet Proof

In a story broken by GamePolitics, Thailand stole its list of "dangerous" games from an outdated list offered by Detroit prosecutor Kym Worthy during the 2007 holiday season. The five banned games constitute half of the list.

Chandraprasert writes:

To say that Thailand's ministries are conservative is like saying the Pacific Ocean is a puddle. In their efforts to maintain a level of control and conformity... they issue laws and regulations faster than a geek can whip out his credit card at a Pantip going-out-of-business sale. Such is the case with video games and Internet cafes...

Their official press release at the Government's Web site clearly states that they see gaming as "a problem which is obsessive and has an (adverse) effect on the behavior of children and teens...".

Chandraprasert also reports on a recent government and law enforcement conference which was held to discuss the video game issue - with ominous overtones:

The conference, held at the Queen Sirikit Convention Center on August 21, had an audience of over 1,500 people, mostly public officials and the police. The main focus of this conference was to find solutions to unregistered gaming stores (basically an Internet cafe like a setup where people can go in and game all day long on computers, not the traditional arcade) and "dangerous games". Their aim is to eliminate the "dangers" associated with said problem within 90 days of the conference.

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