915 suspected motion picture pirates arrested.

An Asia-wide anti-piracy enforcement sweep, launched by the Motion Picture Assn. in early May, has resulted in a record number of seizures and arrests. Operation Red Card far surpassed previous MPA regional sweeps, with seizures of 6,750,350 pirated optical discs and 1,483 optical disc burners plus 915 arrests of suspected motion picture pirates.

In 12 countries across the Asia-Pacific region, law enforcement agencies conducted 1,919 raids in an effort to crack down on the availability of illegally pirated movies in retail shops and markets and from street vendors during the summer months. The main targets of Operation Red Card were piracy hot spots that had caused significant problems in the past and resisted previous enforcement efforts.

The operation was aimed at protecting sales of cinema movie tickets and legitimate home video products, such as DVDs and VCDs, by reducing the availability of pirated optical discs. It focused on notorious piracy “black spots” in major cities in Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand.

Among the highlights of the operation, which concluded in mid-July, were:

• China: 405 raids; 1,961,255 pirated optical discs seized
• Hong Kong: 119 raids; 90 DVD-R burners seized; 56 people arrested
• India: 163 raids; 193 people arrested
• Indonesia: 305 DVD-R burners seized; 2,156,341 pirated optical discs seized
• Malaysia: 455 raids; 422 optical disc burners seized; 1,176,003 pirated optical discs seized; 128 people arrested
• Taiwan: 483 optical disc burners seized; 369,117 pirated optical discs seized; 97 people arrested
• Thailand: 573 raids; 195,997 pirated optical discs seized; 380 people arrested

“The success of Operation Red Card is the result of the strong commitment to intellectual property rights protection by law enforcement agencies and governments around the region,” said Mike Ellis, MPA senior VP/regional director, Asia-Pacific in a statement. “Over the past two years, the MPA’s four biannual anti-piracy sweeps have collectively resulted in more than 2,500 arrests and more than 23 million pirated optical discs seized. The MPA and our member companies continue to support these aggressive enforcement operations by our local police, Customs and other agency partners, which reduce availability of illegally pirated movies that so badly damage sales of theater tickets and home video products.”