MUMBAI: Following three months of investigations by the Motion Picture Association (MPA), representatives from the MPA’s Thailand program and a posse of 30 officers from the Economic and Cyber Crime Division (ECOTEC) of the Royal Thai Police raided a pirate factory in the Thai province of Patumthani on 25 December, seizing two DVD-replicating lines as well as a color printer. No one was present on the premises at the time of the raid. The haul also included 250 pirated DVDs of MPA member company titles such as Imagine That and Final Destination 4.
The factory located about 40 km to the north of Bangkok, is alleged to have supplied pirated DVD to retail outlets in the Thai capital. MPA investigators were tipped off about its location after a raid on a pirate retail outlet at Fortune IT Mall. Preliminary findings show that it was run by a major pirate syndicate and had been operating at the premises for six months. Further investigations are being carried out by ECOTEC officers to determine the masterminds behind this operation.
The seized machines are estimated to have been capable of producing as many as 7 million pirated DVDs in one year, generating potential illegal gains of US$21 million.
Six optical disc replicating lines and 500 burners have so far been seized in significant raids by the Thai authorities this year.
“The raid last week is a warning to pirates who think that the enforcement officers aren’t watching them or that we work a normal business day,” said ECOTEC police commander Major Kowit Wongrungroj. “We’re going to systematically go after them until we get every last one of these criminals.”
“We are glad that the Thai authorities are not letting down their guard with the pirates and staying watchful even as a year punctuated with substantial enforcement highlights is winding down,” said MPA president and managing director Asia-Pacific Mike Ellis. “We look forward to more such good news in 2010 and remain committed to supporting their efforts.”