Police bust movie burner lab in Thailand

MUMBAI: On 30 January, Deputy Commerce Minister Alongkorn Ponlaboot, the new Thai government’s recently appointed head of IP protection, led 20 police officers from the Crime Suppression Division on a raid in Nonthaburi, taking down the first pirate movie lab this year. Nonthaburi is a town situated 20km northwest of Bangkok.

Motion Picture Association (MPA) representatives have worked closely with officers from the Department of Intellectual Property (DIP) to monitor the movements of this major pirate operation for the past three months. This lab is believed to be link to a cam cording syndicate operating in Bangkok and supplying the pirate retailers in the city.

Police seized close to 500 optical disc burners and over 57,000 pirated discs featuring local Thai music and movies, amongst them were MPA member companies’ titles such as "Eagle Eye", "Hancock" and "Wanted".

Among the five people arrested was a woman who tried to bribe the police for the release of three suspects and the man who delivered the bribe.

Deputy Minister Alongkorn said cracking down on piracy was one of the government’s highest priorities: "These pirates must be stopped as they are destroying the Thai film industry. My officers and I will not stop until we have shut down every single pirate operation in Thailand."

"We would like to acknowledge the support and co-operation given by the MPA Thailand in this fight against movie piracy," added DIP director general Puangrat Asavapisit who was part of the raiding team. "We will continue to take aggressive action to bring down the pirates."

"This is an excellent result and we congratulate the Thai authorities for dealing a significant blow to the syndicates supplying Bangkok," said Asia-Pacific MPA president and managing director Mike Ellis. "These burner labs are a major threat to the creative industry in Thailand and the livelihoods of the thousands of people who work in it."