MPA unearths DVD burner lab in Bangkok army camp

Mumbai: Five members from the 11th Infantry Regiment of the King’s Guard were arrested on 9 August during a police raid, dealing a major blow to pirate syndicates in Bangkok and neighbouring Nonthaburi and Pathumthani provinces.

Motion Picture Association (MPA) representatives working closely with officers from the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) had been monitoring the movements of this illegal operation for the last two months. Their efforts paid off when DSI agents identified the location of the burner lab in one of the residences on the camp grounds.

With the cooperation of the Commander of the 11th Infantry Regiment, assisted by the MPA representatives, 30 DSI officers raided the premises and arrested three men and two women who were in midst of replicating discs. Approximately 392 optical disc burners and 80,000 pirated discs featuring both international and local movies and pornography were seized.

Among the MPA titles seized were two of the latest summer blockbusters The Mummy:Tomb of the Dragon Emperor and Batman: The Dark Knight.

The operation appears to have supplied pirated movies, music and pornographic DVDs to major vendors throughout Bangkok and its surrounding areas. DSI is currently conducting further investigations and have indicated more arrests could follow.

"Coordination and the unity between the government arms will be a key element to combat piracy. DSI is serious to fight piracy and will work closely with the other government arms and right holders to combat piracy, especially against the organized crime syndicates and masterminds," said DSI director general Tavee Sodsong.

"Congratulations to the Thai authorities on the execution of such a delicate and covert yet major operation. Hopefully we are closer to understanding all the links that piracy has to organised crime in Thailand. As all of us in the Thai industry tackle the growing threat of illegal camcording, successful enforcement actions like these are necessary to deliver a stern warning to the pirates. We will continue to give our fullest support and commitment to dredging out piracy where ever it happens in the country," said Motion Picture Association president and managing director, Asia-Pacific Mike Ellis.

Prior to this raid, a total of six burner labs have been taken down so far in 2008 from which 427 burners were seized. In 2007, the authorities shut down 11 burner labs and seized 1282 burners.