Nine charged with copyright infringements over toys at fair

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 10 January, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 10 January, 2008, 12:00am

Seven mainlanders and two Hong Kong men will appear in court today after customs officers arrested them at eight booths and seized 28 products that breached copyright at the Hong Kong Toys and Games Fair.

The seven men and two women, aged between 24 and 53, have been charged with possession of an infringing copy of copyright work with a view to exhibiting it in public for the purpose of trade or business.

Customs officers arrested them at the Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai on Tuesday and yesterday, after receiving complaints from copyright owners.

Edmond Cheng Ngai-man, group head of intellectual property investigation, said the seized toys had been manufactured on the mainland and were worth HK$6,000.

He said the number of infringement violations was 'not alarming' because only eight of the fair's more then 3,000 booths were selling the pirated copies. The arrests were made under the Fast Action Scheme, which aims to take enforcement action against infringement activities at large-scale exhibitions in Hong Kong within 24 hours of receiving a complaint.

Last year, customs officers arrested 39 people in 37 cases of intellectual property rights infringement at 12 large-scale exhibitions in Hong Kong.

Under the Copyright Ordinance, it is an offence to possess an infringing copy of a copyright work to exhibit in public, and the maximum penalty is four years' jail and a fine of HK$50,000 for each item.