Customs detects suspected infringing case involving circumvention of paid TV channels (with photo)

18 Jun 2014

Hong Kong Customs yesterday (June 17) took enforcement action, resulting in the detection of a suspected infringing case involving a syndicate circumventing paid TV channels. In the operation, the Customs searched four residences, a warehouse and a stall. A batch of computer equipment and 41 TV set-top boxes for suspected uploading and watching paid TV channels were seized. The total seizure value was about $140,000. Five men and four women, aged between 22 and 66, were arrested.

The Customs earlier received a complaint alleging a TV set-top box was offering paid TV channels illegally. Upon investigation, Customs officer raided three residential premises located in Tai Kok Tsui, Lei Muk Shue and Yau Tong and seized a batch of circumventing equipment for suspected uploading of the paid TV channels and three TV set-top boxes. Three men and three women were arrested. They were suspected to have used computer to upload paid TV channels to overseas servers for transmission to the subject set-top boxes through the internet.

In addition, two men and a woman, suspected to be related to the circumvention activity, were arrested in Sham Shui Po on the same day. They were believed to be responsible for selling the TV set-top boxes. Customs officers seized 38 set-top boxes in a stall on Ap Liu Street and a warehouse in the vicinity. The investigation is still on-going.

In this case, the copyright owner has applied an effective technological measure to protect its own copyright work. Those who wish to watch the paid TV channels legitimately must install the TV station's signal line and watch the TV channels by using the official decoder provided by the copyright owner. The arrested persons were suspected to have, for the purpose of a circumvention business, conspired to upload the TV channels to overseas servers for watching by customers who have bought the set-top boxes. They were also suspected to have, in the course of selling the TV set-top boxes, told customers that these boxes could be used to watch paid TV channels and conspired to provide circumvention service to customers for profit-making.

A Customs' spokesperson said today (June 18) that according to the Copyright Ordinance, a person commits an offence if he, for the purpose of a circumvention business, provides relevant service in order to allow circumventing an effective technological measure. Offenders are liable on conviction to a fine of $500,000 and imprisonment of four years.

Anyone with information on suspected infringing activities can report to the Customs by calling the Customs 24-hour hotline 2545 6182.

Ends/Wednesday, June 18, 2014

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