Sting nets pirated cartoon discs

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 18 June, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 18 June, 2005, 12:00am

Customs seizes $310,000 in videos marketed on Web

A jobless man and his girlfriend who allegedly placed a list of more than 200 pirated Japanese cartoon movies on an internet auction site have been arrested in an undercover sting, a senior customs officer said yesterday.

An investigation revealed that the couple accepted more than 800 orders and had made about $50,000 in profit in the past six months, said Jimmy Tam Yat-keung, head of the Customs and Excise Department's copyright investigation division.

'Our inquiries showed that the pirated Japanese cartoon movies, which contained about 20 video discs each, were priced between $300 and $400 a set. It was sold at a net price,' he said.

'After placing orders by e-mail, the set of pirated video discs would be mailed to buyers. That system is to avoid us detecting them.'

After a three-month investigation, officers from customs' anti-internet-piracy team placed an order to be collected at North Point MTR station on Thursday afternoon.

The 28-year-old man was arrested when he allegedly took marked money from an undercover customs officer in exchange for three sets of Japanese cartoon video discs, Mr Tam said.

Officers then raided his Chai Wan apartment, where he lives with his 22-year-old girlfriend.

Inside the unit, officers arrested the woman and seized 12,000 pirated discs and a computer. The seizure is worth about $310,000.

Mr Tam said it was the biggest seizure of pirated video discs in an internet piracy case.

Officers are still investigating the source of the originals used to make pirate copies.

Mr Tam said the investigation was launched after the department received a number of complaints from the public about three months ago.

The pair were released on bail pending further investigation.