Five held for copying textbooks

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 10 February, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 10 February, 2007, 12:00am

Five people have been arrested in North Kowloon and the New Territories in a crackdown on illegal copying of hundreds of textbooks.

Customs officers said yesterday the raids were conducted after investigations into earlier complaints from publishers' representatives.

In a two-day operation which ended yesterday, officers seized 210 infringing photocopies of books and four photocopying machines from four stores in Sheung Shui, Fanling and Tsz Wan Shan. The total seizure was worth about HK$50,000.

The infringing copies seized included university textbooks, past A-Level examination papers and children's music books.

Three men and two women were arrested. They included the owners and employees of the shops.

Officials said the offenders usually asked the customers to return a few days later to evade detection.

The latest crackdown followed similar raids in September on photocopying stores and a flat - in Tseung Kwan O, Sai Wan Ho and Tin Shui Wai - where seven people were arrested and 225 illegally photocopied educational textbooks valued at HK$90,000 were seized.

Under copyright laws, anyone caught possessing, for the purpose of or in the course of a profit-making copying service business, an infringing copy of a copyright work as published in a book, magazine or periodical, could face a maximum penalty fine of HK$50,000 per infringing copy and four years' imprisonment.

To combat illicit photocopying activities, customs and the Hong Kong Reprographic Rights Licensing Society launched a reward scheme to encourage the public to provide information on activities involving illegal photocopying of books.

The public can provide information by calling customs' 24-hour hotline 2545 6182.