After a year-long investigation, the Hong Kong Customs & Excise Department
raided 20 premises in Hong Kong on Feb. 14 and 15, arresting 14 men and women and seizing more than 120,000 pirated optical discs believed to have
been manufactured in China and smuggled into Hong Kong. The Motion Picture
Assn. reports that the premises were connected to an optical disc piracy syndicate controlled by an organized criminal gang.
More than 40,000 of the seized discs were found to be infringing MPA member
company titles, including "Open Season," "Night At the Museum," "The Departed" and "Rocky Balboa."
In the sweep, 130 officers from Hong Kong Customs' Special Task Force shut
down pirate operations in three warehouses, three retail shops and 14 residences in Hong Kong's Kwun Tong, Cheung Sha Wan, Tsing Yi, Kwai Chung, Tseung Kwan O, Ngau Tau Kok, To Kwa Wan, Lam Tin and Causeway Bay districts. The investigation was sparked by information developed during a series of raids undertaken with the MPA in Kwun Tong last year.
"By maintaining constant pressure on pirate strongholds, the Hong Kong
Customs & Excise Department is sending a powerful message to the criminal
gangs that damage Hong Kong's creative industries and investment climate,"
said Mike Ellis, MPA senior VP/regional director for Asia-Pacific.
A comprehensive study aimed at producing a more accurate picture of the
impact that piracy has on the film industry including, for the first time, losses due to internet piracy, recently calculated that the MPA studios lost $6.1 billion to worldwide piracy in 2005. About $2.4 billion was lost to bootlegging (acquiring illegally-copied movies), $1.4 billion to illegal copying (making illegal copies) and $2.3 billion to Internet piracy.
Of the $6.1 billion in lost revenue to the studios, approximate $1.2 billion came from piracy across the Asia-Pacific region, while piracy in the U.S. accounted for $1.3 billion.
In 2006, the MPA's operations in the Asia-Pacific region investigated more
than 30,000 cases of piracy and assisted law enforcement officials in conducting nearly 12,400 raids. These activities resulted in the seizure of more than 35 million illegal optical discs, 50 factory optical disc production lines and 4,482 optical disc burners, as well as the initiation of more than 11,000 legal actions.