Customs clamps down on illicit photocopying

21 Sep 2007

Customs officers yesterday (September 20) swooped on four photocopying shops to deter infringing reprographic activities.

Acting on complaints from copyright owners about suspected illicit photocopying activities, Customs officers from Intellectual Property Investigation Bureau mounted intensive investigation and conducted an operation yesterday.

They raided four photocopying shops in Shek Kip Mei, Sheung Shui, Causeway Bay and Chai Wan respectively, leading to the seizure of 61 photocopies of books, four photocopying machines and three binding machines. The seizure value was $270,000.

Two men and two women, aged between 44 and 59, were arrested. They are on bail pending further investigation. Among them, a 44-year-old man and a 59-year-old woman were shop owners.

Divisional Commander (Copyright Investigation), Mr Koon Hon-chuen, today (September 21) appealed to photocopying shop owners not to take advantage of the start of the school semester to engage in illicit photocopying business, or they would face prosecution.

Under the Copyright Ordinance, it is an offence for a person to possess, for the purpose of or in the course of a profit-making copying service business, an infringing copy of a copyright work as published in a book, magazine or periodical. The maximum penalty is a fine of $50,000 per infringing copy and imprisonment for four years.

Since 2005, Hong Kong Customs and the Hong Kong Reprographic Rights Licensing Society have run a reward scheme to encourage the public to provide information on activities involving illegal photocopying of books. All information provided is confidential.

Members of the public can provide information by calling the Customs 24-hour hotline 2545 6182.

Ends/Friday, September 21, 2007

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