A 70-member Customs computer-crime team has been set up to battle copyright pirates and smugglers in cyberspace. Commissioner of Customs and Excise John Tsang Chun-wah said yesterday the team would map out tactics in the coming year based on computer-crime trends. It follows the success of a 185-member taskforce established last June which has successfully controlled copyright piracy, Mr Tsang said. The Customs chief said he first intended to set up the new cyber-crime core group late last year with 20 officers, but 70 colleagues had volunteered. 'There is a need for officers to learn more about computers. Smugglers may get orders on the Internet. Officers will also need to learn how to handle computer forensic evidence,' Mr Tsang said. He said the group would look into the potential challenges cyber-crime presented to his 5,000 staff. The group members would be given priority for training when money was available. Despite the success of the copyright piracy taskforce, which was set-up under an ad-hoc arrangement, he said a permanent group was not the solution as culprits changed their methods to survive. He decided last December to keep the taskforce running for another six months after it reduced the number of pirate retail shops from 1,000 early last year to about 100. Another seven-member anti-Internet piracy team has also been formed to explore the technological and legal tools needed to help detection, investigation, arrest, seizure and prosecution. Mr Tsang said the force would also step up anti-smuggling co-operation with mainland authorities. He said cross-border smuggling had been reduced. This was reflected in the drop in the difference in value between SAR exports and China's imports from $10 billion in 1998 to $2 billion last year. Mr Tsang, 48, who has been in the job for a year, said of his role: 'I still feel a little bit nervous as there are still many things that I need to learn.' He was formerly director-general of the London Office and private secretary to the last governor, Chris Patten. He said he had tried his best to keep the management transparent and the dialogue with staff open.