Television piracy will cost the Hong Kong cable and satellite television industry US$32 million this year, up 29 per cent on last year, according to a survey released by the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Association for Asia yesterday. The cost to the industry across Asia excluding Japan and China rose 6.6 per cent this year to US$1.13 billion. There are 118,000 illegal tevevision users in Hong Kong, even as legal connections for pay TV services increased 16 per cent this year to 1.38 million, according to the annual Cost of Pay TV Piracy study for the Asia-Pacific region, conducted by the association and Standard Chartered Bank. Illegal individual connections are estimated to have risen 25 per cent this year to 98,000 households while the number of viewers of satellite television using overseas subscriptions or illegal methods are up 66 per cent to 20,000 connections. The rising level of losses to illegal connections in Hong Kong can be partly attributed to the increase in illegal set-top boxes and to satellite overspill reception by which local users subscribe to satellite television services in overseas markets and receive the signal in Hong Kong, the association said. 'The World Cup football tournament in June this year drove up the illegal connections of pay TV,' said Simon Twiston Davies, chief executive of the association. Some households bought illegal cable set-top boxes in Sham Shui Po for the World Cup, Mr Twiston Davies said. Several public venues including pubs also receive overseas satellite broadcasting signals to show football matches. The association wants the Hong Kong government to criminalise the use of illegal reception of satellite television overspill for display in public venues. 'We feel disappointed that the government seems not to understand the industry view,' Mr Twiston Davies said. 'This could have a genuine impact on Hong Kong's reputation as an intellectual property rights hub.'