Police crack first Internet piracy case in Thailand

MUMBAI: On 6 February, representatives from Motion Picture Association (MPA) Thailand teamed up with officers from the Economic and Technical Crimes Suppression Division (ECOTEC) of the Royal Thai Police to conduct the first ever raid in the country specifically targeting Internet piracy. It was the second significant operation since the start of the year following the January raid on a burner lab where 500 burners were seized.

The police raided a residence in the Bang Su district of Bangkok and arrested a 40 year-old man, an unemployed former IT officer. The suspect confessed to running a web-based pirate operation from his home using pirated DVD copies as masters.

MPA representatives worked closely with officer from ECOTEC to monitor the website operation for the past two months. The Thai language website, known as DVD 1081009, sold pirated movies as well as local and international TV series for less than $1 each.

The raiding party found five packages ready for delivery to clients inside Bangkok and a notebook computer containing a database of his clients. Among the products seized were over 150 MPA member company titles such as Wanted, The Kingdom and Enchanted. Also seized were 14 packages of pirated DVDs from the nearby post office which the suspect had sent for shipment to buyers outside Bangkok. Initial investigations revealed that the suspect’s bank account showed an inflow of approximately $10,000 (THB400,000) over a two-month period.

"We are very encouraged by the Thai authorities’ tough stance that has seen two successful and major operations already in the 2009. It sends a clear and strong message to all the pirates who have been copying content for profit with impunity. We look forward to co-operating with and supporting many more of such actions in the coming months," said MPA Asia-Pacific president and managing director Mike Ellis.