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Hong Kong Customs detects website suspected of distributing pirated TV programmes

     Hong Kong Customs mounted an operation yesterday (May 11) to crack down on a discussion forum website on the Internet involved in suspected distribution of pirated TV programmes. During the operation, two men aged 25 and 46, suspected to be the administrator of the discussion forum and a key member of the forum respectively, were arrested. Four sets of computers worth about $20,000 were seized.

     Hong Kong Customs received information about pirated TV programmes being provided for download in an Internet discussion forum. Members of the discussion forum were required to register and, with sufficient electronic tokens, could download the pirated TV programmes. In the past three months, Customs conducted in-depth investigations and identified the website, which was suspected of distributing local TV programmes without authorisation.

     In the operation conducted yesterday, the two men suspected to be the administrator and the key member of the forum were arrested in Southern and Tuen Mun Districts respectively. Infringing local TV programmes were found in the computers seized. Customs believes that a well-organised syndicate involved in the distribution of infringing TV programmes has been smashed. Active investigation, including investigation into the financial gains of the suspected syndicate, is still in progress.

     Under the Copyright Ordinance, any person, without the licence of the copyright owner of a copyright work, who distributes an infringing copy of the work (even not for the purpose of or in the course of any trade or business) to such an extent as to affect prejudicially the copyright owner commits a criminal offence. The maximum penalty for the offence is imprisonment for four years and a fine of $50,000 per infringing copy.

     Members of the public are called on to respect intellectual property rights. Any person taking part in infringing activities, whether in the physical world or on the Internet, will be subject to criminal liability as well as civil litigation.

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

Ends/Tuesday, May 12, 2015
Issued at HKT 14:51


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