Canine sniffs out shipment of pirated movie DVDs headed for Singapore


MUMBAI: The Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (MDTCA) K9 unit’s Paddy led enforcement officers on a successful weekend operation to shut down the supply lines of pirated movie DVDs in the Malaysian state of Johore.

With the support of the Malaysian Federation Against Copyright Theft (MFACT) representing the Motion Picture Association (MPA), MDTCA conducted raids on 30 and 31 May to taking down six warehouses storing pirated products slated for export to Singapore.

Paddy, the Labrador trained to detect optical discs was donated by the MPA to the Malaysian Government last year when they established the first K9 unit in the world focused on detecting pirated optical discs.

On 30 May, 20 enforcement officers from the MDTCA Johor Bahru and five officers from the K9 unit, raided four premises at the Holiday Plaza, Johor Bahru, initially suspected to be burner labs. While no burners were recovered, these turned out to be warehouses used to store pirated DVDs of games and movies slated for dispatch to Singapore, a short ride away across the Causeway linking the two countries. Paddy’s sensitive nose uncovered a total of 19,000 copies of games, software and movies.

Post-raid investigations revealed that two of the targets were actively involved in exporting pirated DVDs to Singapore; packages were discovered with email orders from two websites which are now the subject of follow up investigations.

No arrests were made but a rowdy crowd of around 40 gathered outside the area and booed the raiding party. A dog was brought in to mock Paddy. Fearing for their safety, MDTCA called in the police who sent heavily armed officers to help defuse the situation.

On the following day, 15 enforcement officers together with the K9 unit raided another two targets. One was a large warehouse of pirated movie DVDs and seized over 6,000 discs. The other target was a delivery point for pirated DVDs to Singapore. Recent titles such as Terminator Salvation, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, Angels & Demons and Star Trek as well as the latest Malay movie titles were among the 10,000 titles seized.

"We are glad to hear that Paddy’s skills are being put to good use against the large, organized network of pirates involved in exporting illegal pirated DVDs to Singapore. I congratulate the Malaysian authorities on tracking these syndicates who are using their territory as a base for illegal activities involving another country and reaffirm our commitment to supporting the Malaysian authorities in their efforts to shutting them down," said MPA president and managing director, Asia-Pacific Mike Ellis