Thai police nets 5 & 25,000 pirated discs

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MUMBAI: On 7 January, a team of 22 officers from the Economic & Technological Crime Suppression Division (ECOTEC) headed by Commander General Visuth Vanichburta as well as Motion Picture Association (MPA) representatives, raided two distribution centers and 11 retail outlets located in the notorious Banmor area in Bangkok.  The police raids were part of the MPA’s anti-piracy initiative Operation Blackout that runs through the holiday season till end-January 2008 around the region. During the raid, over 25,000 optical discs were seized. Of these, 6,000 infringed MPA member company titles including Alien vs. Predator 2, American Gangster and I am Legend.  Two men and three women were also arrested. More suspects escaped when lookouts blew whistles to warn pirate operators, while others blocked the police from moving forward in this crowded area renowned for being a haven of pirates dealing in all sorts of pirated products.  MPA also contacted other right owners both foreign and local film and music industry representatives to identify the rest of the pirated products under the strategy of total enforcement and co-operation.  “The police have no day off when it comes to pirates selling their products. We will continue to do everything within our powers to stop these criminals.” said General Visuth after the raid.  “We are happy that the Thai authorities have taken Operation Blackout to heart and persisted in cleaning up Banmor despite all the challenges faced,” said MPA senior vice president and regional director, Asia-Pac Mike Ellis, “It is a very promising start to the New Year and we look forward to many more such success stories from Thailand.”