Hong Kong Court Confiscates HK$8.8 Million from Piracy Syndicate
On December 30, 2008, His Honour Judge C. L. Yau ordered the confiscation of HK$8.8 million (US$1,128,205), the proceeds of crime seized from a pirated optical disc syndicate. The confiscation order followed the conclusion of the criminal trial which resulted in three defendants being sentenced to imprisonment for periods ranging between 33 and 55 months.
The case arose from the July 2004 “Operation Spur” conducted by Hong Kong Customs and Excise. Customs officers raided retail shops, warehouses and CD-R labs belonging to the syndicate. Investigations revealed the HK$8.8 million proceeds which were promptly frozen, pending the outcome of the criminal trial. The MPA provided seizure examination during the raids and maintained full litigation support of the case.
The confiscation, the first case to be completed under Hong Kong’s Organized and Serious Crimes Ordinance, is good news for rights holders: anyone contemplating involvement in piracy will now have to factor the risk of a significant jail sentence and the loss of the proceeds of their crimes into their assessment of the relative risks and rewards associated with piracy.
Hong Kong – Two Movie Pirates Receive Deterrent Jail Sentences
On May 22, 2008 two members of a criminal syndicate producing pirated movies were convicted in the District Court of breaching Hong Kong’s copyright law. One defendant was sentenced to imprisonment for 24 months and one for 22 months. The judgment maintains Hong Kong’s reputation as a tough place for movie pirates to do business and is the highest jail sentence served to infringers in the year 2008.
The two pirates were arrested in December 2007 after Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department’s Special Task Force raided an illegal laboratory burning pirated movies onto DVD-R. IFACT-GC provided investigative and litigation support and key testimony during the trial.
A total of 23 CD-R/DVD-R burners and 23,644 pirated optical discs were seized during the raid, including movie and TV series titles belonging to MPA member companies and member of the CJ Mark. Titles seized included “American Gangster”, “Bee Movie” and “I Am Legend”, all of which were not available legitimately in home video format at the time they were being produced by the pirates.