Customs smashes hair salons involved in piracy activities

19 Oct 2005

Customs officers of Intellectual Property Investigation Bureau yesterday (October 18) raided three hair salons in Causeway Bay, Tsim Sha Tsui and Tsuen Wan, which were alleged to have provided pirated games CD and VCDs for use by customers.

This is the first case cracked by Customs in which hair salons were found possessing infringing copies in the course of conducting business.

During the operation, Customs officers seized 182 pirated film VCDs, 42 pirated music CDs, 14 pirated TV game CDs, a TV game machine and audio-video equipment. The total seizure value amounted to about $14,000.

Acting on a public complaint that a chained salon was alleged to provide pirated film VCD and games CD for use by customers during service, Customs officers conducted investigation and mounted operation yesterday.

Three men and two women, aged between 18 and 37, were arrested. They were the salon director, manager, hair stylist and receptionist. They were bailed out at $3,000 each pending further investigation.

Investigation showed that the three hair salons, belonging to the same company group, had VIP rooms installed with audio-video system. Customers choosing to have service in the VIP rooms would be provided with pirated games CDs or film VCDs for their use at a surcharge from $50 to $100.

Divisional Commander of Copyright Investigation, Mr Jimmy Y K Tam, said today (October 19) that since the legislation on corporate piracy came into effect on April 1, 2001, Customs had mounted 137 raids based on public complaint. Ninety-nine companies were found to have breached the concerned legislation leading to the arrest of 205 persons.

"Public may report any suspected corporate piracy case by calling Customs 24-hour hotline 2545 6182," he said.

Under the Copyright Ordinance, a person commits an offence if he, without the licence of the copyright owner, possesses for the purpose of, in the course of, or in connection with, any trade or business with a view to committing any act infringing the copyright. The maximum penalty is $50,000 fine per infringing copy and a four-year imprisonment.

Ends/Wednesday, October 19, 2005

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