Customs officers arrested a man on Monday on suspicion of distributing pirated TV programmes via peer-to-peer file sharing software.

“After two months of investigations, we have mounted a raid targeting a flat in the Kwai Tsing District and arrested a man,” said Fong Wing-kai, who heads the Intellectual Property Investigation (Operations) Group.

Fong Wing-kai.

The man arrested, 25, was suspected of being the administrator of an online file-sharing forum. Along with the arrest, customs officers also seized a computer and six hard drives, totalling 8TB of storage, on which over 10,000 episodes of overseas and local TV shows were stored.

Fong said that the forum primarily targeted overseas Chinese communities. The administrator is alleged to have collected popular TV shows from overseas websites, and then distributed them via peer-to-peer sharing on the forum to members, who paid a monthly subscription fee.

Local broadcaster TVB said they welcomed the strengthening of law enforcement on piracy. They said that they hoped the newly elected Legislative Council would reexamine the Copyright (Amendment) Bill to better protect the intellectual property rights of the creative people who work in the film and TV industry.

HKCED Headquarters. Photo: Wikicommons.

The Customs and Excise Department urged the public to respect intellectual property rights.

The Copyright Ordinance states that anyone who distributes a copy of a piece of intellectual property without a licence from the copyright owner, to the extent that it affects the owner prejudicially, commits an offence, whether done for benefit or otherwise. The maximum penalty is imprisonment for four years and a fine of up to HK$50,000 for each copyright infringement.

Stanley Leung

Stanley is a Media and Communications graduate from Goldsmiths College in London. He takes particular interest in visual journalism, having produced photographic and video work on a number of social and political issues. He has also interned at the current affairs service of RTHK’s TV division.