Thai criminal court to impose total online gaming ban

Online gambling websites may be among the many affected by an attempt to impose a total online gaming ban by a Thai criminal court following the suicide of a 12-year-ol boy last week.

The child threw himself from a sixth floor balcony after his parents forbade him to play games on the Internet, fearing he was becoming addicted to shoot 'em ups.

The court apparently issued an order compelling the Information and Communications Technology Ministry to act against some 72 as yet unidentified websites that it claimed were promoting computer gaming in general.

In complying with the order, the Department of Special Investigation said it would notify the country's Internet service providers. Deputy Chief Suchart Wong-anandchai said ISPs found to have encouraged or simply provided online access to the sites would face loss of licence, fines, and possible imprisonment.

Bundit Sornpaisarn, an expert on games addiction and director of the Rajanagarindra Child and Adolescent Mental Health Institute, told local media that aggressive children who had gaming habits were more likely to attempt suicide than others. However, he suggested that the early intervention and exercise of parental discipline was a better solution to the phenomenon than imposing general ISP bans.

It is believed that some operators are seeking legal advice on the jurisdictional reach of the criminal court and the actions of the authorities.

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