'Subscriptions were paid for - in Thailand'

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 12 June, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 12 June, 2003, 12:00am

A former unlicensed dealer of satellite dishes and decoders yesterday criticised the court's ruling in favour of the broadcasters as 'unfair and unreasonable'.

The manager of one of the companies named in the writ, Gamestar Technology, said Star TV and other broadcasters failed to 'understand the situation in Hong Kong'.

He said Gamestar had stopped installing satellite TV equipment in November last year - apparently as part of a business decision not related to the court case. He said there was no question of anyone pirating a signal.

'I want to point out that Hong Kong people did pay for the service and they did pay for the programmes they were watching - they just paid it in Thailand,' he said. 'We didn't know what the copyright situation of UBC was. We just paid the money.'

He said Gamestar had been dissolved and a new company, Digisat Technology, had been formed, offering a service as a programme supplier. Asked who former Gamestar customers should turn to for assistance, he said they should approach the satellite service provider directly.

Meanwhile, another company named in the suit, Tongyong Youhe Ltd, was still advertising its satellite services and packages on the internet yesterday.

On its website, the company offers 'all-new digital 'Multichoice Channel' via satellite broadcasting TV programmes', including soccer and many live sport programmes, covering Europe and Asia. Subscribers need only a 1.5m dish, which the company says will not be affected by rain.

The company also offers to tune antennas for existing customers receiving the Thailand signal who are experiencing interference on rainy days.

A third defendant, Yau Po Satellite Company, was also still advertising its services on the internet. It boasts four different satellite TV systems, with more than 100 channels to choose from.

The channels featured on the website - complete with logos - include ESPN and Star World.