Pirate movie syndicate crushed in first ever cross-border operation

Mumbai: The first ever cross-border operation on DVD-smuggling syndicates took place on 3 July resulting in the arrest of four individuals and the seizure of more than 4,300 pirated DVDs. It was carried out by the officers from the Intellectual Property Rights Branch (IPRB) of the Singapore Police Force and the Enforcement Division of the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (MDTCA) in Malaysia.

Intelligence gathered by the Motion Picture Association (MPA) identified a Malaysia-based website (www.qantasdvd.com) primarily supplying illegal DVDs to Singapore buyers that was also linked to retail outlets at Holiday Plaza, a shopping mall in Johor Bahru. Johor Bahru is a city located at the southern end of West Malaysia and is popular with Singaporeans as it is just minutes across the border.

Assistance was sought from authorities from both sides of the causeway and the two agencies went on to collaborate on this highly coordinated joint operation.

An estimated 300 pirated DVDs were intercepted during a delivery to potential buyers in Singapore. A further 4,000 pirated DVDs were seized from four retail outlets at Holiday Plaza, Johor Bahru, at least one of which was responsible for supplying these DVDs to buyers in Singapore through dedicated websites.

The driver of the Malaysian-registered vehicle was arrested by IPRB officers during his delivery run in Singapore. The rest three individuals were arrested by the MDTCA officers at the Holiday Plaza retail outlets.

"Pulling off such a specialized and coordinated cross-border operation takes a lot of initiative and resourcefulness. It demonstrates both the Singapore and Malaysian governments’ commitment in taking aggressive actions in clamping down on pirate syndicates," said MPA president and managing director, Asia-Pacific Mike Ellis. "We are delighted at the results of this first-ever joint operation between IPRB and MDTCA and congratulate all the officers involved."