Customs cracks a pirated optical discs syndicate

14 Oct 2005

Customs officers from Special Task Force yesterday (October 13) mounted a large-scale operation against manufacturing, distribution and retailing of pirated optical discs (PODs) in Mong Kok and Yuen Long.

Customs officers raided a POD replicating center, 2 storage centers and 6 POD outlets seizing about 40,000 PODs. The total seizure value amounts to $1.04 million.

During the operation, a syndicate believed to have been involved in PODs peddling activities from manufacturing to retailing in Yuen Long was smashed.

Legal advice is being sought for issuing a Restraint Order under the Organized and Serious Crimes Ordinance to freeze proceeds of the syndicate, estimated to be $3.1 million.

Investigation showed that the mastermind ran a POD shop in Yuen Long. She sought to hide herself behind the scene by employing youngsters to man the shop and set up a replicating workshop to supply the PODs for sale at her shop.

A total of 3 men and 4 women, aged between 21 and 46, were arrested. They included a 39-year-old woman, believed to be the syndicate mastermind.

In the operation in Mong Kok, Customs officers raided 2 POD storage centers and 5 POD outlets seizing over 10,000 PODs. The seizure value was about $255,000.

Two men and three women, aged between 21 and 46, were arrested.

As for the operation in Yuen Long, a POD replicating center and an outlet of the syndicate were smashed leading to seizure of about 30,000 PODs. The seizure value was about $785,000.

A 39-year-old woman who was the syndicate mastermind and a 29-year-old man were arrested.

"In light of Customs stringent enforcement actions, the room for PODs peddling activities continues to shrink, while piracy activities in Mong Kok has been curbed significantly," the Group Head (Special Task Force), Mr Albert Chan said today (October 14).

A spokesman for Customs and Excise stressed that the Department would continue its effort in clamping down on piracy activities, including rooting out piracy syndicates.

Ends/Friday, October 14, 2005

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