Beware the Leopard dressed up as a Dragon

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 21 February, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 21 February, 2006, 12:00am

DVDs of a mystery action movie are being passed off in Guangdong as copies of a still-in-production Hong Kong film its backers hope will be a summer blockbuster on both sides of the border.

Mandarin Entertainment, co-producer of the US$10 million Dragon Tiger Gate, is considering legal action to stop further distribution of the hot-selling DVD.

The fake disc is of a film called Shanghai Tan Long Hu Bao (Shanghai Bund - Dragon, Tiger, Leopard), starring Lam Wai, but its jacket has images of action star Donnie Yen Chi-tan and Shawn Yue Man-lok taken from posters promoting Dragon Tiger Gate that appeared last year. The disc's menu also contains images from Dragon Tiger Gate, and falsely credits action choreographers from 2005 martial arts hit Seven Swords.

Raymond Wong Pak-ming, chairman of Mandarin Entertainment, said: 'The shooting of the film was finished over Lunar New Year and it is still undergoing post-production. [The DVD's makers] stole the images of Shawn Yue and Donnie Yen from the film.'

He warned consumers not to be misled by the DVD's jacket.

Mandarin Entertainment lawyer Brian Chan Chung-yau said the company would consider seeking a court injunction on the mainland.

Mr Wong said Mandarin was still assessing the losses the fake DVD had caused.

Anti-piracy measures will be tightened when Dragon Tiger Gate, a screen adaptation of a classic Hong Kong action comic by Tony Wong Yuk-long, is released in July.

'The film will open simultaneously in Hong Kong and the mainland, while Southeast Asia will follow within a week or two. This is to minimise the losses wrought by piracy,' said Mr Wong.

Alex Lau Kun-luen, assistant professor of law at Hong Kong Baptist University, said that, copyright infringement aside, the case was serious enough to be reported to mainland police.