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Singapore censors seize banned game

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SINGAPORE, Jan. 9 -- Copies of a controversial computer game banned in Singapore for its excessive display of violence and gore have been seized by authorities, The Straits Times reported Tuesday. The computer game Mortal Kombat came under attack two years ago in the United States for its gruesome depictions of violence, such as beating hearts being torn from chest cavities and spinal columns ripped from bodies.

Singapore's Board of Film Censors has raided three shops in the city- state and confiscated at least 20 copies of the latest version of the game, Mortal Kombat 3. Singapore banned the original and subsequent versions of the game after new censorship guidelines for electronic games showing sadistic acts and excessive violence were established in 1994. But the recent release in Singapore of a popular movie by the same name has helped make Mortal Kombat 3 one of the most sought-after video games in the tiny island republic. One shopowner in Singapore said his 80 copies of the game were sold quickly last month. The chairman of the Board of Film Censors said the film Mortal Kombat was not violent enough to be banned in Singapore, where many movies and television shows from the West are carefully censored before they are released in the country. Most of the copies of the computer game available in Singapore are pirated and anyone found distributing them faces fines of more than $14, 000 and a maximum jail sentence of six months, the newspaper said.

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