Movies

Hong Kong HC orders forfeiture of film piracy tools worth HK$15 mn

MUMBAI: The Motion Picture Association (MPA) has announced that Hong Kong High Court judge J Wright has ordered the forfeiture of five VCD lines, each worth HK$3 million, used to produce pirated VCDs.

The forfeiture order was issued after the conclusion of criminal trial and appeal procedures in 2005 when three defendants, including the owners of the factories, were sentenced to imprisonment for periods ranging between 21 and 30 months.


The VCD production lines were seized in August 1998 by Hong Kong Customs and Excise in raids on two Hong Kong factories, Wah Lee Multi-Media and Maytronic Industrial. In addition to the VCD production lines, customs also seized 109,663 VCDs and 36 stampers. Five of the seized stampers were being used to replicate MPA member company titles and 71,115 of the seized VCDs were infringing 13 MPA titles. The total value of all seizures was HK$18.3 million.


The MPA provided seizure examination during the raids and maintained full litigation support throughout the nine year life of the case. The forfeiture order was proceeded with by customs only after the owners, Ho Hon-chung and Lam Kwok-wah, were released from jail.


International Federation Against Copyright Theft – Greater China executive director and GM Sam Ho says, “On behalf of all rightholders, I wholeheartedly commend the Hong Kong authorities for persevering with this case. More than nine years after the initial arrests, the High Court has ordered the seizure of some very expensive tools of piracy. This ensures the punishment fits the crime: the criminals have served jail sentences and are now being hit in the pocket to the tune of HK$15 million. Anyone contemplating similar involvement in piracy will now have to factor this into their assessment of the relative risks and rewards associated with the crime.”


MPA senior VP and regional director (Asia-Pacific) Mike Ellis says, “The forfeiture of these production lines not only sends a strong anti-piracy message but also has the practical effect of eliminating them from the production cycle. We congratulate the Hong Kong authorities on the successful closure of this case.”

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