Teen caught selling pirated Windows 7

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 28 October, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 28 October, 2009, 12:00am

An 18-year-old school pupil who took online orders to sell pirated copies of the newly released Windows 7 software was caught in an undercover sting, a senior customs official said.

The Form Six youth accepted 25 orders and had made HK$7,500 in the past two months, Michael Kwan Yuk-kwan, head of the customs copyright investigation division, said.

It was the first time that pirated copies of Windows 7 were found to have been sold through the internet in the city, he said.

Officers began to investigate after receiving a complaint last week.

The pupil advertised the pirated copies through a local internet discussion forum.

He touted copies of the Windows 7 N-series version, which does not include multimedia programmes, for HK$300 each.

Buyers were asked to pay and deposit the money into a local bank account, and then given a hyperlink to download the pirated software, Kwan said.

'Or, clients were asked to go to a designated location to collect a compact disc loaded with pirated software,' he said.

Kwan said the pirated software was downloaded from an overseas website and the software in the N-series version was not for sale in Hong Kong.

The arrest came after a customs officer posing as a buyer placed an order through the discussion forum and deposited HK$300 into the bank account. After the officer was given a hyperlink to download the pirated software on Monday morning, officers raided a flat in Ma On Shan and arrested the pupil.

Inside, two computers containing details of the illegal business were seized. Later that day, the pupil was released on bail.

Kwan reminded young people to respect intellectual property rights and not to take part in any illegal activities.

Under the Copyright Ordinance, the maximum penalty is four years' imprisonment and a HK$50,000 fine for each pirated copy.

Since last Wednesday, officers from customs' special task force have seized about 50 discs loaded with pirated Windows 7 versions in Tsuen Wan, Kwai Chung and Sham Shui Po. No one was arrested.

Anyone with information about illegal activities should report to customs officials through the 24-hour hotline on 2545 6182.