HK High Court forfeits HK$15 mn piracy tools

MUMBAI: Judge J. Wright ordered the forfeiture of five VCD lines, each worth HK$3 million, used to produce pirated VCDs. The forfeiture order was issued after the conclusion of criminal trial and appeal procedures in 2005 when three defendants, including the owners of the factories were sentenced to imprisonment for periods ranging between 21 and 30 months.

The VCD production lines were seized in August 1998 by Hong Kong Customs and Excise in raids on two Hong Kong factories, Wah Lee Multi-Media and Maytronic Industrial. In addition to the VCD production lines Customs also seized 109,663 VCDs and 36 stampers. The total value of all seizures was HK$18.3 million ($2.35 million).

“On behalf of all rights holders I wholeheartedly commend the Hong Kong authorities for persevering with this case – more than nine years after the initial arrests the High Court has ordered the seizure of some very expensive tools of piracy,” said International Federation Against Copyright Theft – Greater China Executive Director and General Manager Sam Ho. “This ensures the punishment fits the crime: the criminals have served jail sentences and are now being hit in the pocket to the tune of HK$15 million.”

“The forfeiture of these production lines not only sends a strong anti-piracy message but also has the practical effect of eliminating them from the production cycle,” said Motion Picture Association senior vice president and regional director Asia-Pac Mike Ellis.