MUMBAI: 30 May 2007 saw the conclusion of a three year investigation and prosecution of organised crime gang members arrested for the mass production and retailing of pirated movies and computer software in Hong Kong.
Three members of the gang were convicted and sentenced to prison for periods ranging from 31 months to six years and six weeks. The arrests were made on 4 August 2005, following a year-long investigation by the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department. 10 premises in Hong Kong were raided, all connected to the illegal optical disc burning syndicate controlled by the Hong Kong-based Wo Shing Wo triad society.
150 officers from Hong Kong Customs’ Special Task Force (STF) raided 10 locations in Hong Kong’s Mong Kok, Kowloon Bay, Tsim Sha Tsui, Cheung Sha Wan, Kwai Chung and Yuen Long Districts, neutralising a DVD-R/CD-R burning lab, two warehouses and three pirate retail outlets. 18 men and women were arrested while seizures included 128 DVD-R and CD-R burners and 100,000 pirated optical discs infringing MPA member company titles and computer and video game software.
Hong Kong Customs officials estimated that the 128 seized burners, if put into operation 24 hours a day, were capable of producing over 11 million pirated optical discs in a year, yielding revenues of over US$8.5 million (HK$67,466,650).
The 18 arrested, six men and 12 women aged 18 to 46, included 14 non-Hong Kong residents from mainland China. Other members of the operation were convicted and sentenced earlier and the sentencing of the three yesterday, including the ringleader, 38-yearold Hong Kong resident Chan Cheong-kit, brings the case to its conclusion. The three were convicted at Hong Kong’s District Court under Hong Kong’s Copyright Ordinance and Organized and Serious Crimes Ordinance (OSCO).
The successful convictions mean that Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department will now move to confiscate the US$128,000 worth of assets seized and frozen.