By Nopporn Wong-Anan

August 4, Reuters

BANGKOK (Reuters) - A Thai video game distributor halted sales of "Grand Theft Auto" on Monday after a teenager confessed to robbing and murdering a taxi driver while trying to recreate a scene from the controversial game.

"We are sending out requests today to outlets and shops to pull the games off their shelves and we will replace them with other games," Sakchai Chotikachinda, sales and marketing director of New Era Interactive Media, told Reuters.

"We are also urging video game arcades to pull the games from service," Sakchai said. An 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 "Grand Theft Auto", showed no sign of mental problems during questioning and had confessed to committing the crime because of the game.

"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 police investigator Veeravit Pipattanasak told Reuters.

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photo: Stacks of the video game "Grand Theft Auto IV" can be seen as they go on sale at a GameStop store in New York April 28, 2008 (REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)