Hong Kong Customs cracks down on shops suspected of selling pirated video games

28 Aug 2015

Hong Kong Customs conducted an operation on August 26 to crack down on suspected sale of pirated video games in the shops of a computer mall in Sham Shui Po. In the operation, 142 items of suspected pirated video games and circumvention devices valued at about $60,000 were seized. Eleven men aged between 24 and 38 were arrested.

Customs earlier received information that suspected pirated video games for portable game consoles were available for sale in shops of a computer mall in Sham Shui Po. Following in-depth investigation, an operation was conducted by 50 Customs officers, and 12 portable game consoles, 69 suspected circumvention devices and 61 memory cards loaded with suspected pirated video games, worth about $60,000, were seized from nine shops. Three shop owners and eight salespersons were also arrested. They are currently on bail pending further investigations.

The salespersons concerned would not take the initiative to offer circumvention devices and pirated video games for sale to customers at the beginning. Only after rounds of dialogue and believing that the customers were not law enforcement officers, would the salespersons concerned promote circumvention devices and pirated video games to the customers, claiming that multiple games could be obtained at a low cost. In addition, Customs officers spotted that some of the shops did not have a business registration and would be able to change their names easily, posing difficulty in tracking them down. This would put protection of consumer rights at risk.

Under the Copyright Ordinance, any person selling a circumvention device or pirated video games commits a criminal offence. The maximum penalty is imprisonment for four years and a fine of $500,000 in addition to a possible fine of $50,000 per each infringing copy. Hong Kong Customs reminds consumers to respect copyright and not to use pirated video games. Infringers could be liable to civil liabilities.

Anyone who comes across any suspected piracy activities is encouraged to report them to Customs by calling the 24-hour hotline 2545 6182.

Ends/Friday, August 28, 2015

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