MUMBAI: On 14 and 15 February, after a year-long investigation, the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department raided 20 premises in Hong Kong connected to an optical disc piracy syndicate controlled by an organized criminal gang, arresting 14 men and women and seizing more than 120,000 pirated optical discs believed to have been manufactured in China and smuggled into Hong Kong.
In a synchronized sweep, 130 officers from Hong Kong Customs’ Special Task Force (STF), raided premises in Hong Kong’s Kwun Tong, Cheung Sha Wan, Tsing Yi, Kwai Chung, Tseung Kwan O, Ngau Tau Kok, To Kwa Wan, Lam Tin and Causeway Bay Districts, shutting down pirate operations in three warehouses, three retail shops and 14 residences.
The investigation was sparked by information developed during a series of raids undertaken with the Motion Picture Association (MPA) in Kwun Tong last year, and more than 40,000 of the seized discs were found to be infringing MPA member company titles including Open Season, Night At the Museum, The Departed and Rocky Balboa.
“By maintaining constant pressure on pirate strongholds, the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department is sending a powerful message to the criminal gangs that damage Hong Kong’s creative industries and investment climate,” said Motion Picture Association senior vice president and regional director, Asia-Pacific Mike Ellis.
“The Motion Picture Association and our member companies greatly appreciate the efforts of the Hong Kong government, and in this instance particularly, the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department, in fighting copyright theft and protecting intellectual property rights. These raids, carried out under the direction of Assistant Commissioner Tam Yiu-keung and Special Task Force Group Head Albert Chan, send a strong message to organized criminal gangs that they will not be given free reign to build criminal enterprises on the foundations of our society’s creativity,” he added.