The head of an influential anti-piracy lobby group for the computer software industry plans to ask leaders elsewhere in Greater China to adopt intellectual property laws similar to those in Hong Kong. Business Software Alliance (BSA) president Robert Holleyman said Hong Kong's laws and enforcement programme should be used as a model for the mainland and Taiwan. Mr Holleyman said he would ask high-level government officials in Beijing and Taipei to consider the move during his visit to the cities later this week. Robert Kruger, a former United States federal prosecutor and now vice-president responsible for enforcement with the BSA, recently said Hong Kong had the best anti-piracy laws and enforcement programme in the Asia-Pacific region. The Intellectual Property (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill, which came into effect on April 1 last year, criminalised the use of pirated software by a business. The Government claimed to have eliminated 90 per cent of stores selling pirated software through enforcement efforts, and spends HK$8 million annually on anti-piracy education. There has been some debate on the effectiveness of Hong Kong's anti-piracy efforts, as knock-off software is still readily available in computer malls. According to the BSA's 2001 global report on software piracy, 53 per cent of the software used in Hong Kong was illegally copied, down from 57 per cent in 2000. The mainland had one of the worst piracy rates at 92 per cent, trailing only Vietnam's 94 per cent. Mr Holleyman said Hong Kong's piracy rate was still 'unacceptably high', but it had managed to buck the global trend and record a modest decrease at a time when the global piracy rate was increasing. Meanwhile, the release of the BSA piracy report yesterday prompted leaders in Thailand to suggest that software developers were contributing to high piracy rates by charging excessive prices for their products. Deputy Commerce Minister Newin Chidchob told the Bangkok Post that major producers had an obligation to provide affordable products. Prices were set at flat rates globally without taking the cost of living of each country into consideration, Mr Newin was quoted as saying. Mr Newin warned if manufacturers ignored the request, the ministry could put software on its price-control list of 71 essential daily goods. Thai software industry officials said they had no power to fix local prices because these were set by foreign software manufacturers, such as Microsoft.