Canine duo nabs Malaysian DVD pirates

MUMBAI: Two persons were arrested and pirated movie discs valued at US$430,000 seized during an operation aided by the Motion Picture Association’s DVD-sniffing black Labrador retrievers, Lucky and Flo, in Kuala Lumpur recently.


The canine duo sniffed out the contraband hidden in secret compartments that a team from the Malaysia’s Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (MDTCA) were unable to discover, say reports. A search of the two retail outlets in the Petaling Jaya district of Kuala Lumpur yielded 150,000 pirated movie DVDs.


Lucky and Flo, says a release, detected hidden compartments packed with pirated DVDs ready for wholesale distribution. In another raid on 20 March 2007, the dogs led a raid in Malaysia’s Johor Bahru, resulting in six arrests and the seizure of around one million pirated optical discs with a street value of around US$2.86 million.


Lucky and Flo, the world’s first dogs trained to find optical discs in packages and containers used by pirate syndicates for smuggling stolen movies around the world, are in Malaysia spearheading “Operation Double Trouble”, launched in March in Kuala Lumpur.


During the month-long operation, the dogs will work with enforcement officers in Kuala Lumpur, Johor Baru and Penang, as well as at border crossings, sniffing out DVDs hidden at storage centers as well as in packages bound for export. The operation is in part aimed at permitting the officers to thoroughly evaluate the effectiveness of canine anti-piracy investigators as the MDTCA considers the feasibility of establishing a dog unit within its Enforcement Division, the release adds.


The induction of the dogs in the team is the result of a 2004 feasibility study by the MPA to determine whether dogs could be trained to detect polycarbonate and other chemicals used in optical discs. A trainer in Northern Ireland known for training dogs to locate and identify bombs trained Lucky and Flo to find optical discs in large and small packages and containers.

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