Hong Kong customs sink piracy syndicates


MUMBAI: On 17 November three weeks of intensive investigation by Hong Kong Customs culminated in 70 officers from the Intellectual Property Investigation Bureau (IPIB) raiding 14 premises linked with a piracy syndicate operating in Temple Street, the arrest of the syndicate mastermind and nine other people aged between 33 to 62 years old, and the seizure of 110,000 pirated optical discs and 5,000 pornographic discs worth HK$2.85 million (US$367,740).


This is the second raid this week on the world famous Temple Street market, popular with local residents and tourists, and the fourth major raid in the last month targeting criminals pirating movies and selling them in popular Hong Kong market areas. In a 12 November raid in Temple Street 56 officers from the IPIB arrested six males and seized 38,000 pirated optical discs.


Over the past month Hong Customs have arrested 50 people, neutralized two pirate movie burner labs, raided 37 pirate retailers and seized over 260,000 pirated optical discs. More than 52,000 of the seized discs were infringing MPA member companies’ titles including a number of movies still in theatrical release, including American Gangster, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Lust, Caution and Shoot ‘Em Up.


IFACT-GC Executive Director and General Manager, Sam Ho said, “Hong Kong Customs’ excellent, sustained work over the past month has dealt a triple hammer blow to pirates – they have seized millions of dollars worth of stock and equipment, deprived them of millions of dollars of illegal revenue and placed 50 criminals in real danger of going to prison. That is great news for the thousands of Hong Kong people who work for businesses that make movies, show them in cinemas and sell legitimate DVD copies of the movies in shops.”


Motion Picture Association senior vice president and regional director Asia-Pacific Mike Ellis added, “This is another tremendous result from Hong Kong Customs. Their persistence in denying the pirates opportunities to trade is exemplary. We salute their efforts and are honored to be their partner in this fight against piracy in Hong Kong.”