CUSTOMS officers declared war on shops selling pirated computer programs at the Golden Shopping Arcade in Shamshuipo last night vowing to close them down. Alarmed by a phenomenal rise in counterfeited CD-ROM programs flooding on to the market, Deputy Commissioner Lawrence Li Shu-fai ordered an increase in raids on the arcade which had become a notorious centre for fake software. Pirate traders said last night they were 'very worried' about the threat to clear them out. A legitimate dealer said she was also concerned by news of the crackdown. 'Although we deal in hardware, if they shut down the pirate dealers less people will come here which will be bad for our business.' Mr Li revealed officials were co-operating with Chinese authorities in an effort to stem the lucrative trade in pirated material coming from across the border. They had agreed to share intelligence on the racketeers' transport of the programs and take action in Hong Kong and China, he said. Nearly half the disks seized had come from the Golden Shopping Arcade. 'We will do everything we can to close those shops selling pirated goods,' Mr Li said. 'Customs is declaring war on the outlets of pirated CD-ROMs and any other infringing goods in the Golden Shopping Arcade.' The action would be taken under the toughened-up Copyright Ordinance which was amended earlier this year to impose greater penalties on those involved in the black market. Possession of illegal copies for trade attracts a penalty of $25,000 a copy and two years' imprisonment. Mr Li said raids would be made frequently to ensure shops caught selling pirated goods had no time to reopen. One dealer who was doing a roaring trade in pirated $40 CD-ROMs last night admitted he was alarmed by the news. 'There are raids every now and then, but this sounds more serious,' he said. But businessman Paul Chan Kin-man, 35, said: 'I think the traders will just go off to Mongkok for a while and drift back when the heat is off.' Another customer Tony Porter, 32, said: 'I bought a laptop a while ago and asked for Windows 3.1. I was amazed when they said the software was free. 'They openly admitted it was pirated. And they gave me a fake certificate of authenticity.'