Pair first to be arrested for allegedly using video camera in theatre

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 03 September, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 03 September, 2002, 12:00am

Two men have been caught allegedly using a video camera to record a preview of a film - the first arrest of its kind since an amended copyright law came into effect in April last year.

The two, aged 26 and 27, were arrested at the Broadway Theatre in Sai Yeung Choi Street, Mongkok, during a preview of the Hong Kong-made action movie So Close on Saturday. They were allegedly caught with a digital video camera and two cassettes.

The new film, not due for release until Thursday, stars Taiwanese actress Shu Qi and Shaolin Soccer's Karen Mok Man-wai and Vicky Zhao Wei. It centres on an international conspiracy involving murders and computer viruses.

'This is the first case relating to bootlegging since the amended Prevention of Copyright Piracy Ordinance came into effect,' said Chong Wai-ming, commander of the Customs Copyright Investigation Division.

The two suspects will be charged with bringing recording equipment into a cinema without authorisation or reasonable explanation under the amended copyright law. The maximum penalty is a fine of $50,000 and three months' imprisonment. The suspects were each released on $1,000 bail and will report to police in three months.

But Mr Chong said it was frequently difficult to lay charges such as infringing copyright with the intention to sell because of a lack of evidence.

Under the amended law, it only has to be proved that a suspect is in possession of recording equipment, without the need to discover a pirated copy or to prove an intention to sell it.

Mr Chong said Customs officers had received several similar reports of copyright infringements since last April, but in each case the suspects had left before officers arrived.