China crackdown yields drop in pirate vendors

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HONG KONG -- Pirate DVD vendors operating between the border control points of Hong Kong and Shenzhen, South China's biggest boomtown, have dropped in number from more than 1,000 to 50 in the past few years due to pressure from Mainland authorities.

In the latest effort to choke off the supply of pirated discs to Hong Kong consumers, 62 law enforcement officers, acting on tips from the Motion Picture Assn. and Japanese rights holders, raided eight pirate DVD vendors Aug. 7 as part of "Operation Illegal Business" at the Luoho and Huanggang border control points, the MPA said Friday.

Sixteen DVD vendors were arrested and 8,800 optical discs seized, according to the MPA.

"This is the biggest criminal raid in Shenzhen this year," MPA director of operations Greater China Sam Ho Greater China. "It is clear that pirates steal the creative property from a range of industries in different countries so it makes sense for all rights holders to work together."

Among the discs seized were 55 titles from MPA member companies as well as Hong Kong and Japanese films and Korean TV dramas.

The raid was led by Chief Xie Jun of the Luohu District Culture Market Administrative Enforcement Task Force, with help from the Futian District Culture Market Administrative Enforcement Task Force and local mainland Chinese police officers.
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