HK Customs smashes Piracy syndicate

15 Feb 2007

Hong Kong Customs smashed a syndicate actively involved in pirated optical disks (PODs) peddling activities in Kwun Tong in a large-scale operation code-named "Touchdown" conducted on February 14 and 15 after a-year-long investigation.

Joining the operation were officers from the Special Task Force, Intelligence Bureau and Financial Investigation Group.

Briefing the media today (February 15), the Group Head of the Special Task Force, Mr Albert Chan, said "We believe that the syndicate, with triad background, is the most organised crime group engaged in PODs activities currently in Hong Kong.

"The operation once again demonstrates Hong Kong's unwavering commitment to eradicating piracy activities for protecting intellectual property rights," he said.

Customs investigation showed that the syndicate had sourced PODs from the Mainland and smuggled them into Hong Kong by cross-boundary vehicles.

The daily proceeds of the syndicate were estimated to be more than $50,000, and money laundering activities were involved.

During the operation, Customs officers raided 20 locations throughout the territories, including 14 premises, three storages and three retail outlets located in Kwun Tong, Cheung Sha Wan, Tsing Yi, Kwai Chung, Tseung Kwan O, Ngau Tau Kok, To Kwa Wan, Lam Tin, Mong Kok and Causeway Bay.

Eleven men and three women, aged between 22 and 51 were arrested. Among them, a 31-year-old man and a 33-year-old woman were believed to be the ring masterminds.

The total seizures amounted to $3.92 million, including 120,000 PODs ($3 million), a private car ($400,000), a cross-boundary container truck ($400,000), about $70,000 in cash and a Hong Kong Jockey Club cash voucher ($49,300) believed to be illicit proceeds.

The arrested persons will be charged with:

Ends/Thursday, February 15, 2007

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