Customs smashes piracy on Internet auction site

17 Mar 2005

Hong Kong Customs officers have cracked a case involving the sale of pirated disks of Western movies and Japanese cartoon via an Internet auction site, resulting in the seizure of a computer, and about 4,000 pirated DVDs and VCDs, worth about $100,000.

A 44-year-old man was arrested. He is now on bail of $5,000 pending further investigation.

Acting on complaint from the copyright owner, Customs officers of the Anti-Internet Piracy Team (AIPT) conducted extensive investigation. With the help of Internet Services Providers, they succeeded in locating a computer relating to the case.

On March 15, Customs officers mounted an operation in Kwai Chung and arrested a 44-year-old man, who was about to pass a batch of pirated disks to Customs officers disguised as buyers in Kwai Chung MTR station.

Subsequently, the officers seized a large quantity of box-set pirated disks from an apartment in Tsuen Wan, and a set of computer and a small quantity of pirated disks from an office in Kwai Chung.

"With the growing popularity of the Internet auctions, Hong Kong Customs Officers have been staying vigilant to piracy activities on the websites," the Head of Intellectual Property Investigation Bureau, Mr Tam Yiu-keung said today (March 17) at a press conference.

"From 2000 to 2004, the AIPT handled 18 Internet piracy cases involving auction websites and arrested 32 persons."

"To step up crackdown against pirated and counterfeit activities on the Internet, Hong Kong Customs will set up the second Anti-Internet Piracy Team to strengthen its investigation and enforcement, particularly the monitoring of suspected Internet piracy," he continued.

The existing AIPT was set up in April, 2000 to investigate and combat Internet piracy. It consists of seven Customs officers, who have attended courses on computer crime and forensic examination in local or overseas universities.

Under Copyright Ordinance, anyone who is found in possession of any infringing article for commercial purpose is liable to prosecution. The maximum penalty is four-year imprisonment and a fine of $50,000 per infringing article.

Members of the public are urged to report any suspected internet piracy activities by calling the Customs 24-hour hotline 2545 6182.

Ends/Thursday, March 17, 2005

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