Police officers watch as a Thai teenager [2nd right] re-enacts robbing and murdering a taxi driver after trying to imitate scenes from the controversial ‘Grand Theft Auto’ video game Photo: REUTERS
A teenager in Thailand has stabbed a taxi driver to death and linked the killing to the violent video game Grand Theft Auto IV.
He later told police: “Killing seemed easy in the game.”
Polwat Chino, 19, told authorities he had been addicted to the controversial video game, developed in Edinburgh by computer gaming company Rockstar North. The popular game has been described by the British Police Federation as ‘sick, deluded and beneath fun’.
Chino hailed a taxi in Bangkok and when it came time to pay the fare, he stabbed the 54-year-old driver to death. Police will allege he needed money to pay to play the game and intended to rob the taxi driver.
After the stabbing, he tried to steal the taxi with the dead driver in the back seat, but did not know how to drive. Neighbours in Soi Jaran Sanitwong in central Bangkok called police after Polwat constantly pressed on the horn as he reversed into a dead end. When police arrived Polwat had locked himself in the car.
Police claimed Polwat had imitated the game when he stabbed the taxi drier, named as Kuan Pohkang, a married man from the poor northern province of Maha Sarakham.
The dead man’s son, Manon, 25, said: “My father never hurt anyone. He was a gentle man.”
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.
Polwat told police he could not drive but did not think it would be hard. He was struggling with the car when police arrived.
He has been charged with robbery causing death and possessing offensive weapons.
Grand Theft Auto games have sold more than 70 million copies worldwide and are based on a character called Niko Bellic who rises through the underworld of ‘Liberty City’ – a pastiche of New York – usually through violent means.