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Video game piracy ring exposed

Carrie Lee

HONG Kong authorities have smashed an international counterfeiting ring that conspired to export thousands of pirated Nintendo video games to South America.

Customs officials announced the seizure of more than 2,800 counterfeit Nintendo cartridges at the Man Kam To border control point and in subsequent raids at three other Hong Kong locations.

A Hong Kong man and a Taiwanese couple were arrested during the raids earlier this month, according to the company.

''This is further confirmation that Taiwanese infringers are involved in the production of counterfeit video game cartridges and components in China for export around the world,'' said Lynn Hvalsoe, general counsel of Nintendo of America.

Authorities said the counterfeit games were made in China and sent to Hong Kong for shipment to Venezuela and other countries in South America and Central America.

The company believes the seized games represent only a fraction of those illegally exported by the ring.

The raids were the latest in a series of anti-counterfeiting actions in Hong Kong which have resulted in the seizure of more than 86,000 counterfeit video game cartridges and disks and 81,000 computer circuit boards for use in pirated games.

''The numerous seizures in Hong Kong over the past year demonstrate the success that is possible when governments have the will to crack down on video-game piracy,'' said Ms Hvalsoe.

Nintendo filed Special 301 petitions earlier this year with the US Trade Representative seeking action against both Taiwan and China for inadequate enforcement against video-game piracy.