The Department of Information and Communications of HCM City plans to ban many online games judged to contain elements of violence, at the request of city officials.

Department Director Le Manh Ha said online games could be addicting and lead to juvenile crime and school truancy.

During a session of the municipal People's Council in June, several deputies demanded that online game providers be tried in criminal courts.

"It may sound quite extreme, but it indicates how society is indignant at the impact of violent games on children," he added.

The biggest hurdle is the large number of online games available in the market.

The number of online games has jumped more than 30 times over the last five years to 30 games with 5 million regular players, most of them adolescents.

"Three more online games are being piloted," Ha said.

According to a survey by the department, up to 66 online games have elements of violence and 8 per cent contain gambling, while the rest involve adventures, football, cycling races and dancing, among others.

All of the online games are licensed by the Ministry of Information and Communications' Department of Electronic Information.

"It is irresponsible to claim that assessment of violence in online games is by no means simple, and that violence cannot be measured physically," Ha said, refuting the ministry's arguments to license games with violent content.

"In fact, they are having a bad effect on society and many parents have voiced their concerns," he added, noting that the ministry had not created assessment criteria.

"Without these criteria, of course, we cannot check on the violent content of online games," he said.

The chairman of the municipal People's Committee, Le Hoang Quan, ordered the department to submit measures to deal with 43 online games that have elements of violence./.