Pirate vendors attack officers in Philippines

MUMBAI: On 16 October, officers from the Optical Media Board (OMB) were attacked by pirate vendors at the St Francis Mall located at Mandaluyong City during a routine enforcement operation to seize pirated movies and optical discs in the mall.

As the OMB officers attempted to seize the pirated discs being offered for sale in the mall, the vendors refused to surrender them and a scuffle ensued. The vendors resorted to throwing objects and hitting the officers with sticks embedded with nails. Dean Perez, a senior OMB officer was injured in the tussle as the officers were forced out of the premises. When the team tried to return to the mall with OMB Chairman Edu Manzano for a second raid they were barred by security guards from re-entering. This caused another confrontation that resulted in the Chairman personally disarming one of the guards of his handgun.

Only then were OMB officers allowed to continue their operation, resulting in the seizure of approximately 18,000 pirated optical discs. Vendors of pirated and child pornography movies are suspected of using St. Francis Square for their retail operations.

OMB chairman Edu Manzano said “I will never let pirates destroy our economy. They have no regard for human rights, engaging in child pornography. We will intensify our campaign against them.”

The OMB is considering filing charges against the security guards for obstructing the operations and against the operators of the mall for permitting the sale of pornography.

Motion Picture Association Asia-Pacific senior vice president and regional director Mike Ellis said, “Many have failed to see the dangerous criminal elements involved in piracy. This is an example of the extent pirates are prepared to go to protect their lucrative trade. I commend Edu and his team of OMB officers for their commitment to the cause.”